Sunday, January 20, 2008

Veterans battling PTSD, depression

Veterans battling PTSD, depression

Family members are also affected, in need of services

By Bill Byrd
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — A recent survey of West Virginia’s combat veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo suggests that nearly half may have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression.

It’s not only the nearly 3,000 of the state’s 6,400 veterans of those conflicts who are affected by PTSD or depression, said Dr. Joseph R. Scotti.

Their spouses or partners and children are also affected, said Scotti, a clinical psychologist who teaches at West Virginia University.

“This represents over 5,000 family members who may be impacted and who may themselves be in need of services,” said Scotti.

“There are effective treatments for PTSD and depression,” but they require a lot of work by the individuals affected, Scotti said.

The first of its kind in the state, the survey will provide a baseline. He hopes it leads to more research and that more ways to provide outreach, counseling and assistance for the state’s veterans are developed soon.

A psychology professor for 18 years, Scotti has worked with a number of trauma survivors, including persons who have been in bad car wrecks and industrial accidents. He also has worked with veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam who have PTSD and depression.

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