The battle after war

The National Library of Medicine says post traumatic stress disorder can occur after any traumatic event.

“It becomes overwhelming and it takes over and pretty much dominates their thought process for a period of time,” said John Marshall who is a counselor and a former military army pilot.

Karie Fugett knows what it’s like to live with someone dealing with PTSD. Her husband was in the beginning stages of receiving treatment when he overdosed on pain medication and died.

“We tried to tell doctors, but people didn’t take us very seriously at that point. At least I didn’t feel that they did,” Fugett said in an interview in 2011.

Now, Marshall said he thinks people are becoming more aware of PTSD.

“We’ve started realizing it, recognizing it and I think the Department of Defense is starting to treat it as a serious thing,” Marshall said.

He said living with PTSD can be an everyday battle.

“It’s not going to go away but many times it stays in the way and you’ve got to get it out of the way. What you have them do is sit down and tell their story over and over and over again,” Marshall said.

Marshall thinks people are starting to be treated correctly.

“I think more people are aware of it now and social pressures are relaxing so they can address it without feeling like they’re not strong,” Marshall said.

Regarding the Fort Hood shooting, Marshall said PTSD could have played a role.

“It’s not necessarily PTSD that caused him to do it but one of the symptoms that caused PTSD was over reacting and misconceiving what’s really going on,” Marshall said.

PTSD by the numbers

Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System’s public affairs specialist Jerron Barnett said “nationwide, more than 530,000 Veterans (more than 140,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn) received treatment for PTSD in VA medical centers and clinics. This is an increase from slightly more than 500,000 Veterans (more than 100,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn) in Fiscal Year 2011.”

Locally, Barnett said  1,950 Veterans were diagnosed for PTSD by VA mental health providers in Mobile in the 2013 Fiscal year. That’s a 49 percent increase from Fiscal Year 2006 (1,309 Veterans).

How are patients treated?

Barnett said “veterans coming to VA for the first time are screened for the presence of symptoms of PTSD, depression and alcohol misuse. The same screening for PTSD, depression, and problem use of alcohol is repeated on a regular basis for new or existing Veterans of any service era.”

He said evaluation and treatment are provided for the veteran if he/she tests positive for any of the conditions.

Most people diagnosed with PTSD, according to Barnett, “have no history of aggression, violence, or criminal behavior, although irritability and anger are symptoms.”

Veterans who have not enrolled for VA health care can visit the nearest VA clinic or Vet Center.

you can also read more at: http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/  .

Additionally, the Veterans Crisis Line is always available to help Veterans in need: 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.

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