York County Medicine Spring 2020 - 10

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

Taking the Offensive
in the War on PTSD
M
By: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R- Pa.)

arine Corps Sergeant Dakota Meyer and his team came
under such heavy enemy fire near the Afghan village of
Ganjigal that it sounded to him like they were surrounded
by static electricity. Despite imminently life-threatening dangers, he
intentionally made five forays headlong into a hail of gunfire, killing
several enemy insurgents while evacuating two dozen Afghan soldiers
and recovering the bodies of four Americans, including three of his
team members.
A hero by any stretch of the definition, Sergeant Meyer became
the first living Marine in more than four decades to receive the Medal
of Honor - America's highest and most prestigious personal military
decoration awarded for extraordinary acts of valor.

But his heroism came at a great personal cost - the war came home
with him. Anxious, quick to anger and unable to get the war out of
his head, Sergeant Meyer was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD). He is far from alone.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates between 11 and
20% of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Veterans
have PTSD in a given year, along with12% of Gulf War Veterans and
15% of Vietnam Veterans. Sadly, only 40% of our heroes will find
relief with current treatments.
Left untreated, PTSD can be debilitating, leading to a decline in
quality of life and causing significant medical, mental health, interpersonal, and social impairment. More threatening though, PTSD has
a strong link to suicide risk, with the lack of effective treatment now
seen as a major contributing factor in the grisly number of Veteran
suicides that have soared to roughly 20 per day.

Unacceptable
Because we have a moral duty to do everything we can to ease the
suffering of veterans and their families who have risked everything
to protect our freedoms and American way of life, I have created
landmark legislation that would provide our hometown heroes with
unrestricted access to a promising treatment.
Called Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) therapy, a procedure that
has been used to relieve chronic pain since the 1920s, this rather
simple, outpatient procedure has been proven to alleviate common
PTSD symptoms such as hyperarousal, exaggerated startle responses,

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York County Medicine Spring 2020

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