Former Senator, Vietnam Vet Treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
> 8/29/2006 9:57:38 AM

Former U.S. Senator from Georgia, Max Cleland, has received depression treatment many times since becoming a triple amputee during the Vietnam War. He battled back the disease to ascend to a position of national prominence. Now, though, the AP reports that along with his depression treatment, Cleland has begun counseling to treat post-traumatic stress disorder that has resurfaced in the face of the barrage of news and coverage from Iraq.

As we wrote earlier this summer, there has been no small amount of concern that images and reports that come flying out of Iraq daily, if not hourly, might effect veterans of the Vietnam War by stirring up nightmares, anxiety and depression. It would appear that this is the case for Cleland who had had great success with his earlier depression treatment.

The AP quoted him describing his own symptoms:

"I realize my symptoms are avoidance, not wanting to connect with anything dealing with the (Iraq) war, tremendous sadness over the casualties that are taken, a real identification with that. ... I've tried to disconnect and disassociate from the media. I don't watch it as much. I'm not engrossed in it like I was," Cleland said in an interview with WSB-TV in Atlanta.

He said he feels depressed, has developed a sense of hyper-vigilance about his security and has difficulty sleeping, the television station reported.

While bickering over numbers and funding will almost certainly continue, the anecdotal evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder cropping up in older vets is a clear indication of the disorder's staying power. Years and even decades after the traumatic experience has passed, symptoms of PTSD can resurface and cause disturbance all over again. Depression, insomnia, anxiety and even suicide are all in play when we talk about PTSD's emergence.

Max Cleland has long been a proponent of veterans rights and care, and because of his willingness to speak out there are probably many who have sought out and received care where they wouldn't have before. Men and women continue to step up and serve our country, but we also must not forget those who made similar sacrifices before them. These veterans require and deserve treatment as well.

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