Fort Hood: New therapy could help those struggling with PTSD
Retired Army Command Sergeant Major Frank Wood knew his destiny was to serve his country.
"I always wanted to serve always want to be a soldier since I was a kid" says Wood.
But adjusting to home life after serving his country was a challenge.
“When you're deployed, everyday it's the same things. Going back home you realize your family did not stop while you're gone”.
Family and friends around Frank saw his personality change.
“My wife said you're not the same person."
He would forget where he had placed things around the house and couldn't stand to be around people.
“I could not get in crowds of people because I was used to it when that happens bad things happen".
He sought out professional help and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
He volunteered to take part of a new form of therapy researched by the UT Health San Antonio and STRONG STAR, a research group/consortium that sponsored the study funded by the Department of Defense.
The new treatment is called Prolonged Exposure.
"This teaches patients to safely and repeatedly confront traumatic memories and process the thoughts related to those memories and in doing so it helps to calm the anxiety around that experience” says Strong Star research therapist Brooke Fina.
The therapy sessions were tough on Wood.
“You got to vividly recall the things that happened and it really bothers you” says Wood.
With the treatment, Frank has been able to go to football games and grocery store shopping.
The little things taken for granted mean so much for Frank and his wife.
"Really happy because you know I won't stay in the house and I’ll get out and I’ll get involved and I’ll go do things” says Wood.
They are currently recruiting both service members and veterans to participate in a follow up study with treatment sites on post.