Soldiers Deal with Post Traumatic Stress - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Soldiers Deal with Post Traumatic Stress

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Nearly eight million Americans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the National Institute for Mental Health.

Many things can cause it... being involved in a traumatic event...or even witnessing one.

It affects men, women and children.

Even some of the bravest and strongest people we know... our soldiers.

 (Begin broadcast script)

The Department of Veteran Affairs says nearly 10 percent of all Americans will deal with Post Traumatic Stress at some point in their life.

Soldiers deal with it more often....

 (Col. Robert Fode/ ND National Guard) "I think that war is hell."

The department estimates 30 percent of Vietnam Veterans deal with Post Traumatic Stress.

And almost 20-percent of soldiers who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Fode) "And a lot of these people who return from service are expected to be a part of the things that they witness..that's just now who we have been brought up to be. Sometimes for those individuals it becomes very difficult to come back from that...because those individuals continue to relive those events."

Nightmares, flashbacks, sudden terror, trouble sleeping, lack of interest in things...these are all symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress.

(Capt. Chance Schaffner/ ND National Guard) "Coming home I was 20 years old. coming home, probably for the first six months waking up and thinking I was on patrol. Looking for my weapon. Things like that. That probably happened for six months to a year when I got back."

Captain Chance Schaffner deployed overseas twice.

First in Iraq, then in Afghanistan.

(Chance Schaffner) "You train to think that nothing is going to happen to you but when things do happen to you then it upsets everything and the whole thought process. That you're not as safe as you thought you were. Especially if it happens to your best friend..then it can happen to me. And it kind of scares everybody."

In Afghanistan, he was in a leadership role...with his brother.

Command Sergeant Major Rashad Schaffner.

(Sgt. Maj. Rashad Schaffner/ ND National Guard) "It's the instant of the last time you remember hearing it when you were gone. Instead of okay that situation just remember for a flash. Then you remember it and then you come back to your reality and say okay and I'm home and I'm here."

The Schaffner's say everyone reacts to war differently.

(Rashad Schaffner) "You're always going to second guess. If something did happen, why didn't I see it. Where were those signs. What did I miss. And I know when we first came back, the heightened awareness was really there because you wanted to make sure you caught everything."

No one's perfect.

And the Schaffner's say that's something soldiers have trouble dealing with.

The Guard has a plan to help....

(End broadcast script)

Tomorrow we have more from the Guard about how they address Post Traumatic Stress..

They are pro-active...and aggressive.

And they work on getting their soldiers talking.

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