Adjustment Disorder -> PTSD?


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Is it common for PTSD to be misdiagnosed as an adjustment disorder? Or, is an adjustment disorder diagnosis ever a precursor to a PTSD diagnosis?

I’m currently active duty Air Force, 11 years time in service, Captain, prior enlisted.

My history:
- Diagnosed with an adjustment disorder with depressed mood in 2010.
- Hid my symptoms because I didn’t want it to affect my ability to pilot military aircraft.
- 2015, symptoms got massively worse affecting work and home life (still hid from medical treatment).
- 2018, in lieu of disasterous consequences in my personal life, I sought mental health treatment with the BHOP (not mental health). He diagnosed me with an adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood. He has referred me to mental health for specialized treatment (after I brought up my combat experience).

I’m certain I have PTSD from my combat experiences...I’m just curious if this is a common progression for the diagnosis. The BHOP is a Psychologist (not clinical)...and the mental health doc that I’m scheduled to see is a clinical psychologist. What is the difference between BHOP and mental health?

Sorry for all of the questions...really anxious about what’s happening in my world.


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I was originally diagnosed with adjustment disorder with depressed mood after initially seeking help in the Navy. I was later told that this is actually quite common, as the ship's provider believed that my symptoms were due directly to my current situation in the military, rather than a consistent issue that affected all parts of my well-being. It wasn't until I continued with treatment with an outside provider that I was able to get the military to acknowledge the Major Depressive Disorder and PTSD that I quite obviously suffered from. It was a very lengthy process, but the change in diagnosis led to the PEB process and eventually my medical retirement (TDRL). I would consider getting an outside provider to make their own diagnosis while also advocating for yourself with the psychologist. The psychologist should have the authorization to refer you to a member of the military that can actually make an informed decision about your condition after a few session. Getting them to change the diagnosis might be step one towards the board process, if that is your current goal. Good luck!


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Basically, BHOP is a MH practitioner that works in a primary care clinic. It was invented as way for people to get care without the stigma of going to MH clinic.

People can have more than one MH diagnosis. Adjustment Disorder is often given to protect the patient, even if a more "serious" disorder exist. Since you believe you have PTSD, I suggest you consider using the a Vet Center near you. Vet Centers are run by the VA. AD can use Vet Centers.

Go to:
to find a VET Center near you. Vet Center practitioners treat PTSD and MST. My interaction with the staff at multiple locations has been very positive.

Best wishes
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