A Bill To Allow Recruits With Previous Mental Health Treatment Is On The Way
In the vast majority of cases, young Americans hoping to join the military are barred from signing up if theyve previously been treated for anxiety, depression or other mental health struggles. But there is some interest in changing that.
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, is working on a bill that would remove some of those barriers, he said Wednesday during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Were telling young Americans, right now, if your dream is to be an Air Force pilot and you have depression as a 16-year-old girl, you either need to not go get help, or if you did go get help and youre prescribed drugs and then you apply to be an Air Force pilot, youve got to lie, he said.
This has particularly been an issue with children whose parents have served, a very common demographic for new recruits, as their medical records are easily pulled from the Defense Departments own systems.
Back in 2017, famously, an Army lieutenant colonels daughter tried to enlist in the Air Force, but because she had met with a counselor as a child, struggling with her dads deployments, the Air Force refused to let her join.
Her family fought back, and in 2019 she was finally granted a waiver.
I think that is so wrong, Sullivan said. Thats happening right now.
While a mental health diagnosis generally disqualifies a recruit from the military, therapy and medication are available to service members diagnosed while in uniform.
Disqualifying Mental Health Conditions
According to the Department of Defense, youre disqualified from serving in the U.S. military if you have a current diagnosis or a history of most mental disorders. The presence of any disorder with psychotic features, such as schizophrenia or a delusional disorder, does not allow one to serve.
Youre also disqualified if you have bipolar disorder or affective psychoses. For depressive disorders , disqualification from the service occurs if a person had outpatient care that lasted for more than 12 months or any inpatient care. A person with a depressive disorder must be stable, without treatment or symptoms for a continuous 36 months, to be eligible to enlist.
For anxiety disorders , a person cannot enter the armed services if they needed any inpatient care, or outpatient care for more than 12 months cumulatively. They must not have needed any treatment for their anxiety disorder in the past 36 months. Other disqualifying mental health conditions include:
Disturbances of conduct, impulse control disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or other personality or behavior disorders characterized by frequent encounters with law enforcement agencies, and antisocial attitudes or behavior also warrant disqualification from service. Likewise, a person may be disqualified from enlisting if their personality, conduct, or behavior disorder is believed to be a serious interference in adjusting to the military.
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Hiring A Lawyer To Obtain Veterans Disability Benefits For Schizophrenia
Woods & Woods veterans disability benefits lawyers have served thousands of disabled veterans. Our lawyers have fought for injured and disabled people since 1985. We know veterans benefits law. Our VA disability compensation lawyers are highly skilled and even teach VA law at national conferences. We fight the Veterans Administration to get veterans the money and help they deserve.
When you hire Woods & Woods, youll get a VA-certified disability attorney. You will only pay our lawyers if your claim is successful. If you have more questions about veterans disability benefits for schizophrenia, reach out to us. We never charge for a legal consultation. We can evaluate your schizophrenia VA disability benefits claim and discuss your legal options. Veterans disability benefits for schizophrenia can be difficult to obtain, but we can help you through the legal process.
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Which Medicines Are Available To Treat Asthma
Medications to treat asthma can be divided into three groups:
How Are Schizophrenic Symptoms Classified
VA refers to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to determine which mental disorders qualify for disability benefits. This handbook classifies psychiatric disorders in common language and is used by members of the healthcare, legal, and legislative fields.
Schizophrenia can cause cognitive disturbances and may be difficult to diagnose because of the many symptoms it can present. There is no specific test to diagnose it, and doctors must carefully examine all a former servicemembers symptoms to reach a conclusion. A veteran who is diagnosed with schizophrenia might suffer from the following conditions:
- Hostility and aggression
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Spine And Sacroiliac Joints
The following conditions may disqualify you for military service:
b. Complaint of a disease or injury of the spine or sacroiliac joints with or without objective signs that has prevented the individual from successfully following a physically active vocation in civilian life or that is associated with pain referred to the lower extremities, muscular spasm, postural deformities or limitation of motion.
c. Deviation or curvature of spine from normal alignment, structure or function if
It prevents the individual from following a physically active vocation in civilian life.
It interferes with wearing a uniform or military equipment.
It is symptomatic and associated with positive physical finding and demonstrable by X-ray.
There is lumbar scoliosis greater than 20 degrees, thoracic scoliosis greater than 30 degrees, and kyphosis or lordosis greater than 55 degrees when measured by the Cobb method.
d. Fusion, congenital, involving more than two vertebrae. Any surgical fusion is disqualifying.
e. Healed fractures or dislocations of the vertebrae. A compression fracture, involving less than 25% of a single vertebra is not disqualifying if the injury occurred more than one year before examination and the applicant is asymptomatic. A history of fractures of the transverse or spinous processes is not disqualifying if the applicant is asymptomatic.
f. Juvenile epiphysitis with any degree of residual change indicated by X-ray or kyphosis.
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Can I Join The Army If Im Fat
You can still serve the U.S. Armed Forces if you are obese by receiving a medical waiver. Approximately 20% of new recruits need a waiver for their weight to attend boot camp. However, those that receive a waiver must lose weight and reach minimum requirements prior to the end of boot camp to continue training.
Can The Military Discharge You If You Suffer From Depression
The military may discharge a soldier who has a mental condition such as depression. Any physical or mental illness that can interfere with a soldiers duty and performance can be used as grounds for discharge.
If the soldier shows signs of major depression while in a warzone, such as insomnia, feeling helpless and depressed, inability to focus on work and thoughts of suicide, the military may offer medication and therapy. However, if the soldier refuses psychiatric medication, then they may be administratively separated or discharged without medical retirement or benefits. The military may also discharge a soldier within the first few months of service if he displays symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders.
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Have Others Experienced This
Yes. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness approximately 100,000 young people will experience psychosis each year, and as many as 3 in 100 people will experience psychosis in their lifetime.
Watch recent New Journeys graduates share their recovery stories:
Is there help?
Yes. If someone you know is experiencing some of these symptoms, you can get help. Research shows that the longer psychosis goes untreated, the harder it is to control.
- Talk to your doctor.
- Contact New Journeys. The Health Care Authority collaborated with the University of Washington and Washington State University to develop New Journeys, a program for first episode psychosis. New Journeys is currently available in the following areas:
- Read the Washington Council for Behavioral Health and HCA’s statewide plan.
Are you, or someone you know, in need of immediate help?
- For a life-threatening emergency: Call 911.
- For suicide prevention: Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 .
- For 24-hour emotional support and referrals: Contact the Washington Recovery Help Line or the crisis line in your area.
Treatment After The Persian Gulf And Iraq Wars
During the past few years, a number of studies have reported prevalence rates between 15.6% and 17.1% for PTSD among those who have returned from the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War.61 Surveys have indicated that military personnel are not taking full advantage of the medical and psychiatric resources at their disposal. Within the military, the view that displaying psychiatric symptoms indicates weakness of character or cowardice is still generally held.62 Soldiers most in need of mental health care do not seek it because of fear of embarrassment, difficulties with peers or officers, or interference with career opportunities within the military. It appears that the accumulated wisdom of psychiatry and increasingly efficient and sophisticated psychiatric treatment methods generally do not reach those who need them most.
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Medical Conditions Affecting Military Service
Are there any conditions or illnesses that automatically disqualify you from service? What about a condition that may make it more difficult to enlist yet does not immediately disqualify a person?
Here are the answers to some of the most common physical or mental conditions that the U.S. Military takes into consideration
How Does The Military Test For Mental Health Disorders
The military treats mental health very seriously and takes a rigid stance on enforcing disqualifications.
Military mental health disqualifications can prevent you from serving in the military.
The problem with many types of mental illness is that the diagnosis is highly subjective.
Furthermore, there are varying levels of anxiety disorders and depression.
For example, you may be aware that you struggle with anxiety yet be able to manage it without needing medication.
Meanwhile, another person may need medication to help keep anxiety and panic attacks from becoming too severe.
The military conducts a psychological evaluation during Military Entrance Processing Stations .
Dont take the psychological evaluation personally because every new recruit has to endure the same evaluation.
The military needs to determine if you have mental aptitude in addition to meeting physical fitness standards for enlistment.
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Medical Conditions That Can Keep You From Joining The Military
Below, you will find details from the Armys Standards of Medical Fitness. These standards generally apply to all other branches as well. Remember that most of these conditions are not necessarily permanently disqualifying, but they are red flags.
If you have had a medical complication at any time in your life that is mentioned here, then you need to tell your recruiter. They will tell you whether your condition can be waived, or if it is permanently disqualifying. Remember that if you do not get an official waiver and your condition later is discovered, you most likely will be dishonorably discharged for fraudulent enlistment. The choice is yours.
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If Ive Been Disqualified From One Branch Of The Military Can I Join Another Branch
The Armed Forces use the same disqualifying medical conditions for every military branch.
Therefore, what is disqualifying in the Army is also disqualifying in the Navy.
However, one branch may approve a waiver while another branch may not based on the condition, your role in the military, and other factors.
Its possible to try and enlist in another branch after another denied your military medical waiver.
Once again it primarily depends on the health condition.
For example, someone with Schizophrenia is likely to get denied by every military branch, while another recruit with a small curvature of scoliosis might have better luck the second time around.
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How The Meb/peb Is Conducted
Physical or mental health problems that are incompatible with military duty or that result in disqualification from worldwide deployment for more than 12 months precipitate a Medical Evaluation Board . Medical boards are initiated by the Medical Treatment Facility , not the individual or the command.
The medical board consists of active duty physicians who review the clinical case file and decide whether the individual should be returned to duty, or should be separated, using the published medical standards for continued military service.
If the MEB determines that the member has a medical condition that is incompatible with continued military service, they refer the case to a Physical Evaluation Board . The PEB is a formal fitness-for-duty and disability determination that may recommend one of the following:
- Return the member to duty
- Place the member on the temporary disabled/retired list
- Separate the member from active duty, or
- Medically retire the member
The standard used by the PEB for determining fitness is whether the medical condition precludes the member from reasonably performing the duties of his or her office, grade, rank, or rating.
Per DoD Instruction 1332.38, the inability to perform the duties of office, grade, rank or rating in every geographic location and under every conceivable circumstance will not be the sole basis for a finding of unfitness. Deployability, however, may be used as a consideration in determining fitness.
Military Rules For Recruits With Asthma
Previously, any history of asthma was disqualifying, regardless of age. While medical waivers were sometimes possible, waiver approval usually required scheduling and passing a pulmonary function test.
In the present day, asthma is only disqualifying if it occurs after the applicants 13th birthday. Some waivers were granted back then, but typically only for non-combat jobs.
Medical record screening may still be required, depending on the applicants medical history. However, in many cases, a signed statement, attached to the medical pre-screening form, stating that the applicant did not have any type of asthma or treatment for asthma after their 13th birthday will be sufficient.
Also having no issues with the fitness test helps in this process too so arrive in shape with no cardiovascular weakness.
Applicants who have experienced asthma or reactive airway disease after age 13 will require all medical documentation. Waivers may still be considered, depending on the applicants medical history and possibly results from a pulmonary function test.
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Condition #19 Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a fairly rare condition that affects the small intestine and makes it very sensitive to consuming gluten. As a result, the individual often avoids gluten in meals.
Unfortunately in the military, much like the case with food allergies, it is unable to follow specific dietary requests. You essentially get what everyone else on the force receives for a meal.
And since you may get assigned to a remote location with limited food and medical help, it could disqualify you from service. Therefore, you may need to apply for a waiver.
How does the military regard hearing? It will test each year for frequencies in order to gauge hearing loss.
The following hearing conditions could disqualify you from service:
- If the pure tone at 500, 1000, and 2000 cycles per second of not more than 25 decibels on the average. No individual level can be greater than 30 dB at the same frequencies.
- Pure tone level that exceeds more than 35 dB at 3,000 cycles per second in each year, or 45 dB at 4,000 cycles per second in each year.
The military will conduct these tests to make sure that the results are within an acceptable standard.
Only significant hearing loss or complete deafness would probably play into a disqualification.
Likewise, if youre deaf in one ear, this would likely also disqualify you from serving in the military.