The Public Square

Conrad Wetzel on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


My name is Conrad Wetzel. I am a resident of Champaign and a member of AWARE, the local Anti-War Anti-Racism Effort. My concern is about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its effects on our troops and our community.

War greatly disrupts the lives of our U.S. military personnel, their loved ones, and their communities. This has never been made more evident than by the large number of men and women who currently suffer from PTSD as a result of their military experience in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a terrifying ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened, such as those to which our troops are exposed in warfare. People with PTSD repeatedly re-experience that ordeal in the form of flashback episodes, memories, nightmares, or frightening thoughts, reminiscent of the trauma. Various severe physical symptoms are also common in people with PTSD. These effects of PTSD make our veterans' re-entry into civilian life very difficult. Many have been unable to obtain adequate medical and counseling services through the Veterans Administration, taking a heavy toll on the veterans themselves and their families and communities. Some are even reluctant to seek help, following instead a progression of self-medicating with alcohol, then job loss and homelessness.

Learn about this little understood trauma of war and its effect on the lives of people living in our community at a panel presentation at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 7, at the Urbana Free Library Auditorium. The panel will include returned veterans, who suffer the effects of PTSD, along with professionals who provide counseling for such veterans and their families. This panel presentation, entitled "PTSD: Our Troops, Our Community," is cosponsored by AWARE and the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Please join us for this important panel at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, September 7, at the Urbana Free Library Auditorium.