Thursday, August 9, 2012

Some returning veterans struggle with driving

Auto anxiety: Some returning veterans struggle with driving
CBS News
By Lee Woodruff
August 9, 2012

(CBS News) Veterans have many difficulties readjusting to civilian life. Thousands of them have trouble with the simplest things, such as driving a car.

It can be a terrifying ordeal for some vets.

Former Marine Sgt. Eric Campbell has knee braces, the obvious physical evidence of his two tours of duty in Iraq. Less obvious are the psychological effects of those experiences. But they are there.

Recalling a moment from one of his tours, Campbell said, "This van started coming down the road toward our roadblocks and our translators were translating, 'Stop, stop, stop your vehicle.' We ended up firing on this van. There was a dad driving, a mother in the passenger seat, the pregnant sister of the mother, and two children. The only one that survived was the pregnant sister."

Events like that have left Campbell with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. After fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom he's lost some of his own. Anxiety has made it impossible for him to drive. "I would hit potholes and it would throw me into a flashback."

Campbell and his fiancee Amy live 20 miles outside of Fresno, Calif., in a tiny trailer they share with her three kids and two of his own. His inability to drive puts an increased burden on her, and makes a difficult situation, worse.

Campbell is one of more than 200,000 vets who've sought treatment for PTSD. Roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan made driving treacherous in those war zones and back home veterans have to navigate a new set of hazards.
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