Veterans' Corner: Help available in Victoria for post-traumatic stress disorder
Most people associate post-traumatic stress disorder with battle-scarred soldiers.
Military combat is the most common cause in men, but any overwhelming life experience can trigger the disorder, especially if the event feels unpredictable and uncomfortable.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless.
But if the upset doesn't fade, and you feel stuck with a constant sense of danger and painful memories, you may be suffering from PTSD.
But, by seeking treatment, reaching out for support and developing new coping skills, you can overcome PTSD and move on with your life.
Getting help for post-traumatic stress disorder:
If you suspect that you or a loved one has PTSD, it's important to seek help right away. The sooner it is confronted, the easier it is to overcome.
If you are reluctant to seek help, keep in mind that PTSD is not a sign of weakness. The only way to overcome it is to confront what happened to you and learn to accept it as part of your past.
This process is much easier with the guidance and support of an experienced therapist or doctor.
The avoidance will ultimately harm your relationships, your ability to function and the quality of your life.
One of the most urgent concerns of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs is reaching the veterans of the most recent wars such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and the Gulf War.
The government is constantly improving the outreach methods and is increasing the number of physicians and medical centers to help veterans suffering from PTSD.
Unfortunately, too many veterans are falling through the cracks, and consequently, thousands of our veteran heroes are committing suicide.
The Disabled American Veteran service officers and other agencies are learning from interviews with veterans with PTSD that those who leave the military and find jobs are not willing to let their employer know they suffer from the disorder for fear that they may lose their job.
The same applies to active servicemen, reservists and National Guardsmen - they also fear being labeled and bypassed for promotions.
We want our veterans to know that we at the DAV Veteran Service Office, the Victoria Outpatient Clinic and all the other veteran representatives in the area want to help. All we ask is an opportunity to serve them with the same dedication that they served our country.
For more information, visit the Disabled American Veterans Service Office in the Texas Workforce Commission building, 120 S. Main St., or call 361-578-0341, ext. 247. The office is open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
Frank Torres is an officer for Victoria Disabled American Veterans Chapter 169 and offers military benefit information and advice for Victoria and surrounding counties. He may be reached at 361-564-7415.