Taking Aim at PTSD Part #1 - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Taking Aim at PTSD Part #1


It's an alarming number.  It has been estimated that as many as one in five soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan could have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  After a traumatic experience, someone who suffers from PTSD may show symptoms that include: mild to moderate stress, intrusive memories and/or dreams, sleep difficulties, irritability, depression, anger, memory problems, feelings of guilt or shame, self-destructive behavior, being easily startled, having flashbacks, and/or avoiding activities that were once enjoyable.

Even though is retired from the military and it has been years since he was in Iraq, Army veteran Nathaniel Cochran would often find his mind back in Iraq.  He got the point where was so bothered by the way that he was feeling that almost couldn't take it.  Fortunately, he finally opened up to a nurse during a visit to the VA clinic in Savannah—a conversation that he believes saved his life.  "She walked in and said how you doing, Mr. Cochran? I said I feel like I'm a time bomb. I feel like I'm a dud read to explode," he says. 

Nathaniel is hardly alone.  Dr. Bethany Wangelin, a therapist and researcher for the VA, believes that the number of veterans coming home with PTSD constitutes a type of health crisis.  "The thing that sets PTSD apart is that these symptoms don't go away on their own. They last for six months or a year, they keep persisting and a lot of times they get worse."

Fortunately, there is help available. Researcher have been trying to get the word about a new study that they are signing up veterans for right now, funded by the Department of Defense.  Nathaniel is one of the participants, and he feels as if the medication is now on, Sertraline, has helped him turn his life around. "I feel like I have been washed clean. I feel great. I'm not that angry individual," he says. 

If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of PTSD or if you are a family member of someone who might be, you can give Christi Oates a call at 912-920-0214, extension 2229, or e-mail Christi.Oates@va.gov.  You can also search Savannah PTSD on Facebook for more information. 

Click on video to watch Nathaniel's story.

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