Local Veteran Says PTSD Does Not Mean Violence - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Local Veteran Says PTSD Does Not Mean Violence

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DAVENPORT, IA -- Local veteran and doctor says whether it was a factor or not in the Fort Hood tragedy, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder alone would not have caused the shooting

Veteran Mitch Chapman served in Afghanistan in 2008. After his troop was struck by an IED, he returned to the United States with 70-percent disability from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Chapmain says, "PTSD doesn't make you a killer. It's an action. It might have influenced it because he might have had issues beforehand, but it's not PTSD taht causes that."

Reliving his experience in Afghanistan, Chapman says, "You don't know what's coming next. You don't know if you're going to get through the next mission or not. When I was over there, it was never a question of being wounded. It was you're going over and coming home or you're not coming home at all."

Chapman tells us he had many resources to help treat his anxiety, and he hopes other veterans won't be afraid to reach out.

Dr. Jeffrey Weyeneth, Psychiatrist at Genesis Medical Center and Navy Reservist Captain, says "I think that's another problem sometimes with these mental illness issues. Is that people think, 'I'm never going to get better. Why should I get treated? It's never going to help. All I'm going to get is stigma if people know.'"

Wyeneth adds, "But it will get better. There are treatments and they are very effective treatments."

Dr. Weyeneth says help can range from medications to treat sleep disturbance or anxiety, to one-on-one and group therapy. He says group therapy is often the most helpful because veterans realize they are not alone.

Dr. Weyeneth also emphasizes that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder does not mean violence. "People can be violent that have these issues, but it certainly does not mean they will be violent [...] I think it's important to understand the majority of people with mental illness are not violent."

As for Mitch Chapman, he agrees, "PTSD is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of being too strong for too long. And you finally broke down and that's what it is."

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