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Claiming Major Depressive Disorder


JohnReid

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Im getting out sometime this year, just haven't narrowed down a date yet. I just want to get out ahead of the VA claims process. I plan to claim:

-Major Depressive Disorder (diagnosed by PCM. Came about bc of an EO complaint of discrimination), currently seeing a counselor out on the town. I was hesitant to go to behavioral health. I didnt want to be put in in-patient care by the psychiatrist.

When i go to file, will the VA look at the records from the counselor the same way they'd look at records from a psychiatrist/psychologist?

-Left shoulder bursitis/bicep tendonitis
-Chronic low back pain
-Tension headaches (i feel like they're migraines)
-Tinea barbae. Had a permanent shaving profile for a little over a year from a military doctor. My bumps don't flare up too bad these days. Will that have a negative impact at the C&P exam?
-Ringing in ears
-Tinea versicolor
-ED

I want to make sure i have all my ducks in a row before i get everything together to go file.

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"Im getting out sometime this year, just haven't narrowed down a date yet. I just want to get out ahead of the VA claims process."

Be sure when you get your Discharge Physical, all ailments etc are listed there.

Do not leave the Mil without s complete copy of your SMRs and 201 ( Personnel file)

Make sure you get contact info from any of your military buddies who were in your same unit. You might need them if you have to get a "buddy statement".

Each one of your claimed disabilities will have to have a "nexus" to your service, meaning the disability began inservice.

You mentioned: 

"Major Depressive Disorder (diagnosed by PCM. Came about bc of an EO complaint of discrimination), currently seeing a counselor out on the town. I was hesitant to go to behavioral health. I didnt want to be put in in-patient care by the psychiatrist."

Was this diagnosed by the Military? what is PCM?

I have had experience with EEOC complaints but I do not know how this would have a service nexus or cause.

Maybe EO means something else.
 

 

Edited by Berta
internet problems. cloud (see edit history)
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On 4/2/2019 at 7:53 AM, JohnReid said:

Im getting out sometime this year, just haven't narrowed down a date yet. I just want to get out ahead of the VA claims process. I plan to claim:

-Major Depressive Disorder (diagnosed by PCM. Came about bc of an EO complaint of discrimination), currently seeing a counselor out on the town. I was hesitant to go to behavioral health. I didnt want to be put in in-patient care by the psychiatrist.

When i go to file, will the VA look at the records from the counselor the same way they'd look at records from a psychiatrist/psychologist?

-Left shoulder bursitis/bicep tendonitis
-Chronic low back pain
-Tension headaches (i feel like they're migraines)
-Tinea barbae. Had a permanent shaving profile for a little over a year from a military doctor. My bumps don't flare up too bad these days. Will that have a negative impact at the C&P exam?
-Ringing in ears
-Tinea versicolor
-ED

I want to make sure i have all my ducks in a row before i get everything together to go file.

I agree with Berta's post.

My suggestion though would be to go to behavioral health and at the very least get seen for MDD before you are discharged; that way it's in your service medical record for treatment, along with your private counselors treatment records (the more evidence there is the better). Your Primary Care Manager (PCM) probably gave you a questionnaire to fill out and you answered questions that would satisfy the criteria for MDD.

A psychologist or psychiatrist are specialists in their field. Your PCM is probably a family or general practice Dr. only and vaguely has a basic knowledge on mental health disorders. Is your counselor a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), psychologist/psychiatrist?

Upon your ETS make every effort to register sooner rather than later with the nearest VA facility to begin behavioral health treatment through the VA. You don't want to go more than a year after your discharge without getting seen because what the VA looks at are the "continuity of symptoms" and "chronicity of symptoms". You'll be helping yourself to build evidence for an increase if you are granted service-connection for MDD or any other granted service connected disabilities. 

The EO complaint would actually carry some weight in your claim. It would prove you had difficulty interacting with fellow service members. 

This will give you an idea of how mental health disorders are rated:

The majority of mental conditions are rated on the following schedule. Each rating has 5 main categories of symptoms/circumstances. Not every single symptom or circumstance has to be present in order to be assigned the rating, but the rating that most closely defines the condition should always be used.

 

100% rating: This rating will have the majority of the following circumstances and symptoms:

The Ability to Care for Yourself: This individual cannot take care of himself at all. Constant or near-constant hospitalization and one-on-one supervision is required.

Medications: This individual requires psychiatric medication at all times.

Symptoms: Some or all of the following symptoms will be present.

– Regular or constant delusions or hallucinations and the inability to tell fact from fiction
– Completely inappropriate behavior (like drooling, mumbling, shouting, etc.)
– There is constant danger of hurting self or others (including suicidal tendencies)
– Significant memory loss, including not being able to remember names of close friends, family, or self, and other important information
– The individual cannot understand the idea of time or place
– The individual cannot properly reason, think or communicate logically
– Constant anxiety, fear, suspicion

The Ability to Work: This individual cannot work at all.

Social Relationships: This individual cannot participate in any relationships. In other words, they cannot interact or build a relationship with another person. Family members may care for them, but it is only a one-way relationship. They cannot seek, invite, or encourage any relationships.

70% rating: This rating will have the majority of the following circumstances and symptoms:

The Ability to Care for Yourself: This individual cannot take care of himself most of the time. He is in the hospital or a care facility or is being taken care of by family members all of the time, and requires one-on-one supervision 50% of the time. This person cannot take care of his own personal hygiene.

Medications: This individual requires psychiatric medication at all times.

Symptoms: Some or all of the following symptoms will be present.

– There is the regular possibility of hurting self or others (including suicidal tendencies)
– This individual often cannot communicate logically
– This individual is actively psychotic, but may have intermittent contact with reality
– Obssessive-compulsive behavior that causes repetitive physical actions that interfere completely with daily necessary activities
– Severe, constant anxiety
– Mood often changes radically, without warning.
– Almost constant severe depression or panic, with the inability to function at all in stressful situations
– This individual cannot control impulsive actions like anger, violence, etc.
– Often disoriented to time and place

The Ability to Work: This individual may not be able to work at all or may be severely under-employed (such as a former intelligence analyst now working part time as a custodian).

Social Relationships: This individual cannot participate in any relationships most of the time. In other words, they cannot interact or build a relationship with another person. Family members may care for them, but it is normally only a one-way relationship. They cannot seek, invite, or encourage any relationships the majority of the time.

50% rating: This rating will have the majority of the following circumstances and symptoms:

The Ability to Care for Yourself: This individual is occasionally hospitalized, but can mostly take care of the basic personal needs like bathing or going to the bathroom, although their personal hygiene may not be kept up regularly. They may also be able to function in areas like shopping, driving, cleaning, etc.

Medications: This individual requires psychiatric medication at all times.

Symptoms: Some or all of the following symptoms will be present.

– Trouble expressing or showing emotions (This doesn’t mean that they are just reserved. It basically means that they are completely blank the majority of the time), or shows the wrong or inappropriate emotion for the situation
– Always shows significant signs of anxiety
– Regularly gives unnecessary or unrelated details when communicating
– Two or more panic attacks a week
– Trouble understanding complex directions
– Trouble remembering things (forgetting to complete tasks, etc.)
– Trouble thinking logically and often has poor judgment
– A serious lack of, or a seriously increased, mood or motivation
– Occasional delusions or hallucinations
– Regular to nightly trouble sleeping (nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, etc.)
– Complaints of physical symptoms, like pain, that do not have a physical cause
– Suicidal thoughts, but no definite plan to hurt himself

The Ability to Work: This individual may try to work, but will not be able to hold a job for more than 3 or 4 months because of their inability to remember or follow all directions or other similar reasons based on the symptoms or circumstances described under this rating. (In other words, they wouldn’t lose their job simply because they have anger issues and would regularly get in fights. A person like that could also not hold a job more than 3 or 4 months, but they would still be considered able to work). This individual would only be hired for jobs like cleaning, picking up trash, or other simple-task jobs.

Social Relationships: Like his ability to work, this individual may try to build and engage in relationships, but these relationships would not last long in most situations. Divorce or other breaks in relationships and friendships could occur due to his inability to properly participate in a relationship.

30% rating: This rating will have the majority of the following circumstances and symptoms:

The Ability to Care for Yourself: This individual may have occasional, short hospitalizations, but can entirely take care of himself most of the time.

Medications: This individual usually requires medication to function normally.

Symptoms: Some or all of the following symptoms will be present.

– Spikes or drops in mood, like depression
– Often anxious or becomes easily stressed
– Panic attacks occur, but no more than once a week
– Difficulty sleeping (nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, etc.)
– Mild memory loss could include regularly forgetting names or directions
– Often suspicious of other people, particularly ones he does not know

The Ability to Work: This individual will be able to work and will usually function normally. There may, however, be occasional times where he is unable to properly fulfill all job requirements. This could result in occasionally losing his job.

Social Relationships: Like his ability to work, this individual will normally have fairly stable relationships. These relationships, however, will not be great and will often be strained by the symptoms of his condition. Divorce or breakups could occur, but not in every case.

10% rating: This rating will have the majority of the following circumstances and symptoms:

The Ability to Care for Yourself: This individual will always be able to take care of himself and will very rarely, if ever, be hospitalized.

Medications: This individual may or may not be taking medication. Meds may be taken all the time, or only during stressful times. They satisfactorily keep all symptoms under control.

Symptoms: Some or all of the following symptoms will be present, but only during times of significant stress. The majority of the time there are no symptoms.

– Mild depression or other mood changes
– Mild to moderate anxiety
– Mild panic attacks may occur, but very rarely
– Occasional difficulty sleeping (nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, etc.)
– A range of other, very mild symptoms, which could include suspiciousness of strangers and hyperarousalhyperarousal.bmp

The Ability to Work: This individual will be fully employable and will very rarely have any problems at work that are caused by the mental condition.

Social Relationships: This individual will have full, functional relationships with only occasional, mild stresses that are caused by the condition.

0% rating: If a mental condition has been diagnosed but there are no symptoms that impair social or occupational functioning or require medication, then it is rated 0%.

Edited by doc25 (see edit history)
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On 4/8/2019 at 9:29 AM, Berta said:

"Im getting out sometime this year, just haven't narrowed down a date yet. I just want to get out ahead of the VA claims process."

Be sure when you get your Discharge Physical, all ailments etc are listed there.

Do not leave the Mil without s complete copy of your SMRs and 201 ( Personnel file)

Make sure you get contact info from any of your military buddies who were in your same unit. You might need them if you have to get a "buddy statement".

Each one of your claimed disabilities will have to have a "nexus" to your service, meaning the disability began inservice.

You mentioned: 

"Major Depressive Disorder (diagnosed by PCM. Came about bc of an EO complaint of discrimination), currently seeing a counselor out on the town. I was hesitant to go to behavioral health. I didnt want to be put in in-patient care by the psychiatrist."

Was this diagnosed by the Military? what is PCM?

I have had experience with EEOC complaints but I do not know how this would have a service nexus or cause.

Maybe EO means something else.
 

 

Thank you both for the replies. And my military doctor on base diagnosed me with MDD. Put me on zoloft and trazodone. And EO (Equal Opportunity) is a complaint any member can route up if they feel like they've been discriminated against because of race/color/age/religion/sexual orientation etc. My command is well aware of this and i have the documentation for it.

And i requested my personal medical record from the military hospital on base. Took about 2 weeks and they sent me an email with all the stuff ive been seen for since i came in. Is there anything i need to get before i get out?

And yes all the things i listed in the OP ive been seen for while im still active duty. As of now im seeing a military psychologist on base. She knows about my diagnosis and the fact im on medication. We're trying to work something out.

I just want to make sure i have all my ducks in a row before i get out. Trying to be proactive.

 

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I would highly recommend having your MDD seen by an on base psychiatrist before getting out. See them as much as possible prior to getting out. The more that is in your medical files the easy time you will have getting the VA to SC the disability. Make sure you have all your medical issues looked at and documented prior to getting out. Also make sure you keep in contact with your military buddies (I did not and now I wish I had). You never know when you will need a buddy letter.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

When I got back from Vietnam  I was having problems and I ended up spending about two months in a military mental ward.  When I got out of the service I spent a few weeks in a VA hospital mental ward.   This is basically how I got my disability.   I would strongly advise you to see a base psychiatrist and go into the military hospital if that is what he/she advises.  This will be your nexus to an in-service component for any VA disability claim later.  You might even get a medical discharge based on your mental/emotional problems.  It is hard for the VA to deny your mental health problems are service connected if you spend time in a military mental ward.   If you do see a military shrink be very careful of what you say to these guys.  The best line to take is that you were fine before the military and now after military service you have emotional problems.  Don't let them lead you down the garden path to try and find a non-service connected cause for your problems.  Focus on problems arising from your actual exposures and military duty.  Don't get into your childhood problems, family problems or anything before military service.  If you have combat service focus on that.  If you suffered hardships due to your service focus on those.  The military and VA still like to find that vets have personality disorders which are non-compensable.  I would educate myself about personality disorder  versus actual medical mental disorders.  Back during Vietnam era the VA and military just loved to DX PTSD vets with a PD instead of actual PTSD which did not even exist until the 80's.

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John999  is right on!!!

Edited by Buck52 (see edit history)
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