For Mark Bratton, when he feels an episode come on he says he sweats profusely and his heart beats wildly. . “By no means have I ever acted violently towards anyone else." he explained. That is why when he was turned away from CSL plasma when he went in to donate he was so taken aback. "I've done a lot for my country. You have no idea what I've done for my country. For them to think I would be violent, coming home, it's kind of disheartening," Bratton said.
In the beginning, the staff at CSL had an issue with Bratton’s service dog. Then, it was his medical history. Worried that the act of donating might trigger a PTSD episode in Bratton and that his behavior would turn unpredictable and violent, CSL choose to deny Bratton the ability to donate.
"We go overseas, fight for our country, for our brothers next to us, and come back home and want to integrate back in society,” Bratton said. “Veterans seeking help for PTSD, they don't want to be labeled as someone who is potentially violent."
Mark Bratton was deployed 5 times during his 9 year stretch in the United States Marine Corps. When he returned he was diagnosed with PTSD like many of his fellow soldiers. It is estimated that 15%-20% of American veterans returning home suffer from some degree of PTSD. PTSD is a disorder that affects victims of traumatic events. 7%-8% of all Americans will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives and the symptoms are varied.
However, there are 4 major groups of symptoms, none of which are violent. That is not to say that PTSD sufferers might not become violent but it is not a symptom of the disorder. The 4 major symptoms groups are: 1) Reliving the event (nightmares, flashbacks, etc), 2) Avoiding situations which remind the sufferer of the traumatic event (avoiding crowds, conversations, etc), 3) Negative changes in beliefs and feelings (isolating oneself, loosing memories, etc) and 4) Hyperarousal (difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, etc).
"To be denied because of inaccurate information bothers me greatly," said Dr. Harry Croft, who is leading clinical trials in Texas, which is where he met Mark Bratton. "It fosters the general public conception that people with PTSD can be unpredictable and can be dangerous. That's not true," Dr. Croft said.
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