Health
7:31 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Fayetteville Identifies With PTSD After A Traumatic Experience

Mental health experts in Fayetteville are hosting a community forum on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder a week after the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Credit Aaron 'tango' Tang via Flickr, Creative Commons

Organizers say they had planned for the forum before last Monday's explosions, but they expect to talk about the incident during Tuesday's discussions.  John Bigger says PTSD tends to get more attention in military cities like Fayetteville.

"Part of it is the focus gets on the soldier who barricades himself in a house and has a standoff with police, and then they talk about he thought he was under attack," says Bigger, a panelist in the forum and an administrator at the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center.

"Whereas on the community level, it can be characterized by somebody who isolates more and they're just not the same when they've come back from a deployment.  There are a lot of subtle symptoms that are there."

Bigger says PTSD also affects those who experience other traumatic events such as rape or witnessing tragedies like the bombings in Boston.  The Veterans' Affairs office says about 5 million Americans suffer from PTSD during any given year.