Friday, July 26, 2013

Veterans of Long-Past Wars Find Hope in PTSD Diagnosis

Some seem to want to go on pretending that PTSD is a new injury hitting only Afghanistan and Iraq veterans but the truth is, it is as old as the Bible. They didn't use the words but if you read the words of King David in Psalms along with many others, you will clearly see it. Every war has caused this but it used to be called different names. The outcome has always been the same. We train them to go then leave them on their own coming home.
Veterans of Long-Past Wars Find Hope in PTSD Diagnosis
The California Report
Reporter: Scott Shafer

More than a quarter-million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, but younger vets aren’t the only ones dealing with it. Even today, veterans from conflicts as far back as World War II struggle with symptoms.

Donald Foster, an 86-year-old veteran of World War II, only recently began getting treatment for his PTSD. As a soldier in Japan, he worked in a Japanese orphanage. He said it made him feel patriotic -- at first.

“But when you see these little tykes dropping dead from aplastic anemia, and the burns on adults wandering around dazed before they died of radiation sickness -- rather than make me more patriotic I just felt, I just threw up,” Foster said.

After he returned home, he married, had several children and began an impressive career. His work with the United Nations and World Bank took him to dozens of nations. He retired about five years ago.

All that globe-trotting helped mask his struggles with depression and anger, issues he never linked back to his military service. But two years ago, after a massive earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami, the scenes of devastation brought back a flood of memories.

He had an urgent, almost desperate, need to find out what happened to the kids he saw on television.

That incident led him to Grass Valley psychologist Page Brown, who works with veterans. She said PTSD symptoms are very often triggered by scenes of war, violence or devastation.

Foster was diagnosed with PTSD about two years ago. He said he didn't expect to learn that his symptoms were related to his military experience. Brown said that's not an unusual reaction of older vets.
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