ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — June is PTSD Awareness Month, and veterans are often a victim of the disorder due to their service in combat. The James E Van Zandt VA Medical center offers year-round whole-health treatment for veterans in Central Pennsylvania.

Chief of Mental Health for the facility, Angela Hahn-Mowry talks about some of the treatment options that are available at the VA for veterans living with PTSD. She says there are online resources for family members to check out as well, because oftentimes, they’re the first people to recognize symptoms in a family member or loved one.

Shawney Bennati is a Air Force Veteran and a James E. Van Zandt Employee. Shawney also lives with PTSD and utilizes the VA for treatment options. She really wants to help break the stigma that PTSD only affects men, because it also has a big impact on women as well.

“PTSD can be a result from pretty much anything traumatic that someone could go through,” says Angela Hahn-Mowry. “Anything like a car accident, domestic abuse, or even in a military member’s case, due to their time in combat.”

The James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center feels like this topic is important because PTSD, which stands for post-traumatic stress disorder, occurs in people after they have experienced a particularly traumatic event like war, violent physical/sexual/verbal assault, accidents, and so forth. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, nightmares, paranoia, insomnia, disturbing thoughts, and much more.

Many people recover from PTSD after a few days, weeks, or months.

Yet, for others, the recovery road might mean one year or more.

There are a lot of people who only attach PTSD to combat related symptoms, PTSD is connected to some sort of life trauma (examples)

What does the VA offer Veterans to help combat PTSD?

Wide variety of comprehensive treatments.

Two main components:

  • Talk Therapy – Exposure Therapy, talking through the traumatic event
  • Providing medication
  • NEWEST—Neuro feedback – you basically re-train your brain to be less reactivate to triggers, when playing a video game

The hospital says this treatment is very effective. They’ve seen a significant number of veterans with longstanding trauma find relief. The James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center is the only facility in the region to offer this service.

Their goal is to offer a variety of treatments. The staff wants to help each individual Veteran, based on their experience and what works best for them.

The James E. Van Zandt VA feesl it’s important for all Veterans and their families and friends to understand the impact of PTSD, and it’s many forms. So understanding more about PTSD, knowing what to look for is an important first step to get our Nation’s Heroes care.

We want to be a part of this education for our Veteran community, so they and their family and friends know when to seek help. There are certain symptoms Veterans may experience they think are not PTSD at all, but it can be a factor many situations.

For more information click here or call 814-943-8164.