Staggering rate of invisible brain injuries—and the addictions that go with them.

by | May 29, 2012

“LeHeup is a former Marine sergeant, who served two grueling tours in Afghanistan during the US invasion and early occupation. He drinks to dull memories of the everyday chaos and carnage. He drinks to tolerate his disgust at the raucous bar-goers who have no idea how easy life is in America, compared to the casual violence and grinding poverty of Afghanistan. He drinks because, in the Marines, that is just what everybody does.”

I know from my own personal experience how substance abuse can make the challenge of PTSD exponentially more difficult.  Alcohol in particular mixed with prescription medications will take a person over the edge.   The calming part feels good at first, but then once the body and mind begins to reject the chemicals, we tend to become even more anxious and angry, including over reacting to little things.  I hate PTSD as much as anyone who suffers from the debilitating symptoms, and have lived with the challenge for most of my 65 years on the planet.  But it is far easier to mitigate and manage symptoms without alcohol and various narcotic prescription medications.  The best part is my marriage was saved 12 years ago by stopping alcohol consumption completely.  And finally after many years of using pain killers and other prescription medications following several surgeries, I am now free of narcotics in my body.  PTSD is still a challenge, but managing the symptoms is so much easier.   I wake up these days much happier and confident about the future.  My wife and extended family, including close friends, are happy campers too.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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