After enduring emotional turmoil, many individuals who volunteer to serve in the armed forces may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when they return home. If left untreated, the psychiatric illness can put a strain on relationships between loved ones.
Dedie Davis is aware of the negative consequences that come with allowing PTSD to linger. Her husband returned home from serving in Iraq in 2004, and quickly began to show symptoms of the condition. When Davis’ husband began treatment for PTSD, she began the Operation Open Arms nonprofit group to help other veterans with the illness. Her goal is to provide assistance to individuals with the condition and keep them off the streets, according to the official U.S. Army site.
Many people with PTSD turn to drugs to cope with the illness. After becoming unemployed, these veterans often find themselves without a home. Davis, who lived in her car for a short period in 1998 with her children, understands the struggles that come with homelessness and poverty.
“I’ve always tried to find someone who is less fortunate than me, and help them,” Davis said.
More than 7 million Americans suffer from PTSD every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Rehabilitation facilities and outreach programs can help individuals manage the condition.