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Doctor Discusses Dangers of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

July 1, 2014

substance-abuse

A New York doctor discusses the importance of providing quality care for veterans in areas, such as PTSD, on the heels of Bob McDonald being appointed Secretary of Veteran Affairs and other recent media attention on veterans’ needs.

“If untreated, post-traumatic stress disorder can have a great impact on a patient’s quality of life,” says Dr. Mayer H. Bellehsen, Director of the Mildred and Frank Feinberg Division of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans & Their Families. “It can affect a person’s ability to enjoy events or relationships, and, in general, can increase feelings of anxiety and irritability in a person.”
Some symptoms of PTSD include the patients re-experiencing the traumatic events, whether in their dreams or through flashbacks, an increased physiological arousal, which manifests itself in a difficulty sleeping and an avoidance of certain people and places that may remind the patient of the trauma. These symptoms can have a serious physical or psychological impact on recently returned veterans.
“Sometimes, veterans will turn to substances such as alcohol or drugs when trying to cope with these symptoms as a way of self-medicating,” Dr. Bellehsen said. “In addition, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused a number of physical injuries, particularly from an increased survival of blasts, which can lead to a reliance on pain medication.”

  • Media Contacts:

    Daniel Finnegan
    516-465-2669
    dfinngegan@nshs.edu
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