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Monday, November 13, 2006

Albany Times Union Delivers Exhaustive PTSD Piece

Dennis Yusko at the Albany Times Union writes a stellar piece on the issues surrounding combat PTSD. "War's pain comes home" is a Page 1 article that ran on Sunday, spanning 4 online pages. Well worth the time to read it, here's a snippet of the opening:

For nearly a year, Christopher DeLara sped ruthlessly around Baghdad's lawless streets, riding adrenaline and paranoia as he dodged hidden bombs and insurgents.

But 18 months after his return to the U.S., doctors no longer allow the Army administrative specialist- turned-gunner to get behind the wheel. The 33-year-old veteran's readjustment to civilian life is tormented by sudden blackouts, nightmares and severe depression caused by his time in Iraq. Since moving to Albany last June, DeLara accidently smashed the family minivan, attempted suicide, separated from and reunited with his wife and lost his civilian driving job.

'I go from a job where I'm taking care of everything to coming back and being lucky if I know who the hell I am, or don't have a breakdown,' DeLara said from his living room couch, his eyes glazed and droopy from prescription drugs.

DeLara is among more than 38,000 Afghanistan and Iraq veterans fighting war's invisible wound -- post-traumatic stress disorder. The twin post-9/11 conflicts are generating a record number of PTSD cases, and the skyrocketing number of troops seeking care has Veterans Administration hospitals scrambling to provide increased services for the disorder.

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