Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The Department of Veterans Affairs is being criticized for the shortfall in care for almost a million veterans who can't get timely compensation and have been waiting hundreds of days for help, often to no avail.

Frustration with the agency came to a head last Thursday when VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was called before a closed-door meeting of the House Appropriations Committee.

"We are aggressively executing a plan that we have put together to fix this decades-old problem and eliminate the backlog, as we have indicated, in 2015," Shinseki said after the meeting.

Gazette Excerpt: Injured In Iraq, Jailed At Home

May 21, 2013
Michael Ciaglo / The Gazette

When wounded combat veterans lash out, the Army struggles to respond justly.

Gazette Excerpt: No Break For The Wounded

May 20, 2013
Michael Ciaglo / The Gazette

Modern medicine saved Sgt. Jerrald Jensen when he was injured in combat. Decades-old disciplinary rules awaited when he returned home.

The Gazette

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries are the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gazette Excerpt: Injured In War, Punished At Home

May 19, 2013
Michael Ciaglo / The Gazette

For wounded veterans with other-than-honorable discharges, the “unbreakable covenant” of government care is cut, leaving them helpless.

For years, PTSD — or post-traumatic stress disorder — has been an issue for military members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

But humans aren't the only ones with problems. Military dogs returning from war zones are also showing signs of PTSD. And there's evidence that these canines need some extra tender loving care after their tours of duty.

Police in Texas have charged Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old U.S. Marine reservist, with capital murder. Arrest records indicate that Routh had been twice taken to a mental hospital in recent months, and had told police he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

When Sgt. Brandon McCoy returned from Iraq, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Alicia, remembers him being on edge in public.

"I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia.

Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. She told him: Get help or get a divorce. So he scheduled an appointment and — along with Alicia — trekked to the Fort Campbell hospital located on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

Marine Esteban Brojas is rocking back and forth in his chair in a rehabilitation center for veterans in Menlo Park, Calif. He rubs his hands together so quickly you can hear them.

"You know, you're going into a building, and you know there's a grenade being popped in there," he says, "and there's a woman and a child in there ... and you're part of that?"

Even extreme stress doesn't have to get you down.

That's the message from brain scientists studying the relationship between stress and problems such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Researchers at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans presented studies showing how stress caused by everything from battlefield trauma to bullying can alter brain circuitry in ways that have long-term effects on mental health.

Pages