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Will I Get Kicked Out Of The Military for Depression?

In this article, we will be answering the question “Will I get kicked out of the military due to depression?”. We will also discuss depression, other mental health conditions that disqualifies a service member in the military and other reasons for discharge. We will also answer frequently asked questions about the subject.

Depression is a psychological disorder that can occur to anyone. Regardless of race, age, sexuality, gender, economic status, faith, anyone with the tendency or unfortunate circumstance may experience depression.

Even professionals such as soldiers or people working in the military may experience depression. Not only them but as well as their family members, children and anyone significant to them.

Will I get kicked out of the military for depression?

Yes, you can be kicked out of the military for depression. However, a due process should be undergone before a service member will be dismissed from the military because of depression. The depression’s severity and level of disturbance will be considered before disqualifying or dismissing someone from the service and should only be determined by the attending mental health professional in the field. 

Disqualifying Mental Health Conditions in the Military

The Department of Defense disqualifies a person entering the military if they have a history of psychosis like schizophrenia, delusional disorder and/or affective psychosis.

A person cannot enter the military services like the airforce if they are recommended and required to have an inpatient or outpatient care for 12 months or more due to their mental health condition. Either continually or cumulatively. This covers psychological disorders such as anxiety disorders and depression. Moreso, a person with depression must be stable for three years without symptoms and treatment to be qualified for enlistment.

Disqualification for people with depression or bipolar disorders also occurs if a person had a history of inpatient care or outpatient services for their condition that lasted for more than 12 months.  

Other mental health conditions and other conditions that disqualify a person being enlisted are:

  • history of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • history of obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • history of or current dissociative, depersonalization, conversion, or factitious disorder, somatoform disorders, hypochondriasis, or pain disorder related to a somatoform disorder or psychological factors
  • recurrent episodes of adjustment disorder or history of adjustment disorder within the last six months
  • history of paraphilias like exhibitionism or voyeurism
  • history of or substance-abuse disorder, current alcohol or drug abuse or dependence
  • history of attempted suicide or suicidal behavior
  • history of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
  • History or impairment on academic skills or perceptual defects including dyslexia and interference with employment or school. However, passing employment and academic performance from the previous 12 months may be qualified.  
  • History of mood disorders
  • Behavioral disorders
  • records from law enforcement involving dangerous behavior to others or self
  • antisocial tendencies
  • history or tendencies of personality disorder
  • inability to remain in work with colleagues or employers, school and social groups
  • results of instability in impulsiveness, dependency or personality issues that may interfere conformity and obedience to the Armed Forces’ rules and regulation
  • history of encopresis or enuresis after 13th birthday.
  • sleepwalking after 13th birthday
  • history of eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, bulimia, or other unspecified eating disorders persisting longer than three months and occurring after the 14th birthday
  • stuttering or stammering
  • history of expressive or receptive language disorder
  • history of anxiety
  • history of phobia
  • history of self-harm
  • history of oppositional defiant disorder
  • history of impulse control disorder

Symptoms of depression in soldiers and their spouses

Depression among military service member and their spoused have higher rates from the general population. Depression negatively affects a person’s way of thinking, feeling and behaving and may lead to danger such as suicide and other mental disorders.

People with depression have trouble going through their day even in simple tasks such as taking a bath, eating or doing what should be done. At some point, they will experience feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, loss of interest and motivation and lethargy.

At least 5 of the following symptoms should be present before being diagnosed with depression during the 2-week period and at least either or both symptoms, depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure is present:

– most of the day in depressed mood, nearly everyday as observed by one’s self and/or others. (note: children may show agitation)

– anhedonia or loss of interest in pleasurable activities

– drastic weight loss or weight gain

– unfocused or diminished thinking

lethargy

– feelings of unworthiness

– psychomotor agitation

– having recurring thoughts of suicide or death

– lack of sleep or excessive sleep

In severe cases of depression, others may experience psychotic symptoms and may lead to anxiety disorders, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD, delusions or hallucinations.  

Reasons of discharge from the military

Personality disorders are the most common reason for discharge in the military stipulated under other designated physical and mental conditions (ODPMC).

This also includes:

–          bedwetting

–          sleep walking

–          allergies

–          severe stuttering

–          obesity

–          excessive height

–          airsickness

–          certain allergies

–          seasickness

Experience of chronic stress may lead to psychological disorders. Although a lay person can tell and identify signs and symptoms of mental disorder, only psychologists and psychiatrists are warranted to make a diagnosis. Whatever is reported by mental health professionals will be disclosed to your command officer.

A recommendation from the psychiatrist or psychologist is needed for discharge of a person working in the military. Grounds for discharge is when the mental health condition results in significant impairment and functioning or the person in the military environment and service.

Regulations regarding discharge may vary without warning. Differences in policies may also occur from one command to another regardless if within the same base.

Members who have mental conditions that are considered good prognosis or can be treated in a short period of time are not discharged. An example is the condition called adjustment disorder, except by the Air Force.

Other reasons for early discharge

Conscientious Objector Discharge

Soldiers are deployed by their command and they cannot choose where they will be assigned. By law, conscientious objectors are members of the military that allows them to serve in the military but not in a combatant setting by beliefs. They will serve in the Armed Forces but will not be required to work and be assigned on services that involves weapon.  

Early Release for Education

A military member can be discharged early to pursue education. This is allowed by the Department of Defense Directives.

In the Air Force, after two years of service, a personnel can request a separation. However not all schooling is granted to get an early release. Military members who are accepted in an accredited school for dentists, veterinarians, clinical psychologists, optometrist, osteopath and medical training as physicians are qualified for early release for education.

However, the Army Regulation (AR 635-200) and Marine Corps Regulation (MCO P1900-16F) do not allow early release for education more than 90 days prior to their regular separation date.

Military Hardship Discharges

So long that the reason for the military hardship discharge is valid, a member can request for an early discharge. An example is a death or permanent disability of the member’s wife or husband who is the primary caretaker of their children.

If the military member is not qualified for a hardship discharge, they can apply for a humanitarian assignment.   

Convenience of the Government

This provision can be used by the military that requires a person’s separation not under any other separation program. Note that it is called “convenience of the government” and not of the service member.

Honorable Discharge

This highest discharge a member of the military can receive indicates a service well performed, faithfully executed and has led the person to become an asset in the branch of the military they served.

General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions

Reason for discharge is specific. Conduct on some areas may have been done with excellence but is not necessarily applied in other areas.

Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge

OTH discharge does not require a court-martial while this is the most undesirable and unwanted administrative discharge. Reasons for the discharge depends on the severity of the case or offense of the military member. Dealing with this issue may vary according to how the branch of the military handled similar cases from the past along with other variables.

Assault, security violations, drug possession, trouble with civilian authorities, or various degrees of violations on drugs and/or other problems could fall under Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge. Future military service, the OTH should be considered to be a barrier.

Bad Conduct Discharges

A result of a court-martial, depending on the severity and nature of the conduct. This is considered a barrier in the future military service and bad conduct discharge is not considered administrative.  

Dishonorable Discharge

As a result of a court-martial, this is the most punitive among all military discharges. Fraud, desertion, murder and other crimes performed in uniform can result to proceedings in the court-martial that ends to a Dishonorable Discharge.

Other Military Discharges

Entry-level discharge or entry-level separation may be given to a new recruit who cannot complete the basic training and adapt to the military environment during training, unable and unwilling to complete the initial phase of the training before moving forward to a permanent party.

Entry level separations do not have a privilege for benefits. This is served to new recruits that have served beyond 180 days. However, this is neither considered good nor bad.  

FAQs: Will I Get Kicked Out Of The Military for Depression?

Will I get kicked out of the military for depression?

Yes, you can be kicked out of the military for depression. However, a due process should be undergone before a service member will be dismissed from the military. The depression’s severity and level of disturbance will be considered before disqualifying or dismissing someone from the service. 

How long is to work in the military service?

Commitment to work in the military service has a minimum of eight years. Time not spent working in an active duty must either serve in the inactive reserves or active guard/reserves.

Can you get discharged from the military for depression?

Yes, they can. However, you will not be easily discharge and if your doctor will identify if your condition is severe, you may get a profile.

Can you get kicked out of the military for mental health?

Yes, you can. If you have a history of mental conditions mentioned above, and if the mental health professional who checked on you deem it necessary to discharge you from the military service due to the severity, danger and effects on your functioning in the military, you will be most likely discharged earlier than expected.  The presence or history of any disorder with psychotic features, such as schizophrenia or a delusional disorder, does not allow a person to serve or be enlisted in the military service.

What will get you kicked out of the military?

–          The following will get you kicked out of the military:

–          Violent behavior

–          Getting too drunk

–          Having sex with someone who is underage

–          Sexting using the government’s phone

–          Taking one drug to hide another

–          Failing drug test

–          Huffing

–          Failing fitness requirements

Why do soldiers get depressed?

Exposure to trauma and having brain injuries during combat may cause damage to the brain and result in symptoms and signs of depression. Working in the military can be a very stressful career. It requires not only physical strength but emotional resilience.

How long can a soldier be deployed?

Soldiers can be deployed within 90 days to 15 months depending on the contract.

Does joining the military change your personality?

Yes, it can. A journal published by the Psychological Science showed that men who have an experience in the military tend to have a lower score on agreeableness compared to their civilian counterparts. Agreeableness is a personality dimension associated with our ability to accommodate social situations and ability to be pleasant.  

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Will I get kicked out of the military due to depression?”. We also discussed depression, other mental health conditions that disqualifies a service member in the military and other reasons for discharge. Further, we answered frequently asked questions about the subject.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioral therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/military-medical-standards-for-enlistment-and-commission-3354046

https://www.military.com/undertheradar/2016/04/10-most-common-ways-troops-get-thrown-out-of-the-military

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/early-discharge-from-the-military-4057239

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