What to know about PTSD and Veterans - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

What to know about PTSD and Veterans

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(Felicia Allyn/WCIV) (Felicia Allyn/WCIV)

By Stefanie Bainum
sbainum@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – It can be a hero's silent struggle. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] is a condition that affects more people than you may think, especially our veterans.

"PTSD is very bad anxiety and depression in response to a traumatic event," said Ron Acierno, the PTSD Clinical Director at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Downtown Charleston.

"PTSD affects about three percent of the general population and in Veteran population -- it's closer to 10 to 20 percent."

But it's nothing to be ashamed of. Acierno says not getting help can be the worst part of it all.

"In our culture and in particular, our military and service culture, having a psychological disorder is not always something that you want to talk about and the problem is if you don't talk about it, it might continue to negatively affect you," Acierno said.

The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is known for leading the way in clinical research for PTSD. Acierno says the hospital has the nation's latest and best treatments available to Veterans right here in the Holy City.

"If you have someone in your family or a close friend who suffers from the disorder the best thing to do is let them know they have the help here at the VA and they may not listen the first time, or the second time, or the fourth time, but if they hear it enough they might pick up the phone."

The VA's PTSD program has a goal to give Veterans a second chance at life after they've sacrificed their own life, for our country.

"We can't erase the bad things that have happened, nor should we, but we don't want them to impair the person's life and so that's what the treatment involves really -- getting into what happened until you can get somewhat used to it," Acierno said.

The VA is asking anyone who may be suffering from PTSD, or if you would like more information, to please call the hospital at (843) 577-5011 or visit the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in person at 109 Bee Street in Downtown Charleston.

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