QCA Medical Professionals Learn about PTSD - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

QCA Medical Professionals Learn about PTSD

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We are hearing more and more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as more and more veterans come home from Iraq and Afghanistan. And local doctors say they are seeing more cases as well.

That is part of the reason medical providers from across the QCA came together Wednesday night. They tell us the goal is to increase awareness, decrease the stigma that may be associated with a "mental health issue" and get those who need it, treatment.

"I believe that every individual coming back has some level of post traumatic stress or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," Retired CSM Steven Blake tells us. He says you can't serve in combat and see what happens there without being affected by it. In fact, Blake says he returned home from war zones four times, and each time he struggled. "In 2008 when I came back, I was in Clarksville, Tennessee, driving down the road, doing 15 mph in my truck. Now I've got 28 years of service, 26 back then, and I'm looking around for IEDs on the side of the road, in America. And I had to stop and tell myself that it's okay, that I'm home."

He says it still affects him. "I don't sit in a restaurant with my back to the door anymore. Thunder and lightning makes my skin crawl. I don't watch war movies anymore that I used to enjoy." And Blake says if that could happen to him, a senior leader, then it could happen to anyone.

It's a message he shared with more than 200 medical professionals gathered at Davenport's Hotel Black Hawk for a special presentation, "The Journey Home: Issues Facing Combat Veterans". Local doctors say the issues have always existed, going all the way back to World War I, but PTSD has really come into focus in the last decade or so. And they say we can all be sensitive to it.

Dr. Jeff Weyeneth is the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Genesis. He says, " Realize if you have a family member, friend, somebody maybe that is just a casual acquaintance through work that comes back from combat or overseas and seems different and you know it, don't just let it go, talk to the person about it." He says many times, the person you're talking to may not even realize the extent of the problem. There may be anger or irritability, or some trouble sleeping, but all that could be caused by PTSD, and doctors say it's worth getting checked out.

Doctors here are learning more about the disorder, and the VA in Bettendorf or Iowa City can also help. For more information, you can log on to Military One Source, or call the hotlines listed there. The Crisis Line is 1.800.273.TALK (8255).