ACT News

Commando claimed PTSD gave him low testosterone

An Australian commando who claimed post-traumatic stress disorder gave him low testosterone has failed to prove he has an "injury or disease" recognised for compensation.

The war veteran, who cannot be named, served in the army for six years from 2004 to 2010, deployed in East Timor and Afghanistan as a commando. 

He returned from each of his deployments anxious, stressed and quick to aggression and anger. 

The veteran put his fist through a wall, destroyed things in the house, became distant from his wife, lost his libido, slept a lot and was described as "washed out". 

After his discharge, he went overseas with a friend, who offered him a hormone supplement. 

The tablets greatly improved his mood and condition, and his wife noticed a "massive improvement".

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They went to medical experts, who said they found the man's testosterone was low.  He was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, which a doctor had already linked to the testosterone problems.

In 2012, he made a claim to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, alleging liability for the low testosterone, caused by his war service.

The commission rejected the claim, saying a confirming diagnosis had not been established.

Two years later, the Veterans' Review Board varied their ruling to include a diagnosis that the commando suffered a suppression of the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis.

But the board otherwise affirmed the earlier rejection of the claim for liability.

The commando has since taken his fight to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which handed down its ruling last week.

It found against the veteran, saying:

"Having regard to all of the evidence we are not satisfied as to the applicant's diagnosis of low testosterone levels or suppression of the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis such as to constitute an injury or disease [within the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act]."

It described the medical evidence linking the commando's low testosterone to his PTSD as "surprising".

That was because his testosterone levels were found to be within the normal range, and because the link was made before he had been formally diagnosed with PTSD.

The commando had claimed that different testosterone levels were normal for different people, and his were lower than should be expected for him. 

The tribunal affirmed the original decision of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.

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