Knoxville vet says PTSD requires lifelong treatment
"If you're willing to stay with the program, it can help," veteran Freddie Owens said. "It doesn't take away all of the hurt and everything else. PTSD is a lifelong treatment. It's not here today and gone tomorrow."
Owens, shown at far right, during his combat time in Vietnam.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A local veteran says service members seeking post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment should stick to the program throughout a lifetime.
This comes a day after a Maryville Marine, who is believed to have suffered from PTSD, was shot and killed in a standoff with police after investigators said he refused orders to drop his weapon.
The family of Lance Cpl. Theodore Jones IV, 27, said he suffered from PTSD and may have experienced a flashback from combat.
Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council Vice Chairman Freddie Owens said there is a way to try and prevent tragic situations like that from happening, but he said it's not only about seeking help for the condition, but also sticking to it for the rest of your life.
"I experience PTSD every day," Owens said.
Owens, 71, is a Vietnam veteran and served from 1965 to 1966.
"You can have a flashback and it can put you in a flashback mode and no one can stop you," Owens said. "It's devastating to the point that we know there is help, but we don't know if [Jones] was able to reach out and get that help."
Owens said soldiers need to be evaluated for PTSD as soon as they return home from deployment.
"Don't wait two years," Owens said. "Don't even wait six months."
The Knoxville Veterans Center said it offers counseling and therapy for service members dealing with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD.
"If you're willing to stay with the program, it can help," Owens said. "It doesn't take away all of the hurt and everything else. PTSD is a lifelong treatment. It's not here today and gone tomorrow."
Owens is also a peer facilitator for a support group that meets every Monday at the Elmcroft Senior Living Center on Gleason Drive.
Roughly 300 service members nationwide committed suicide in 2011 and more than 900 attempted suicide, according to Cynthia O. Smith, spokeswoman for the Department of Defense.
The DOD urges anyone struggling with PTSD to call the military crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
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