Struggle to Cope and Overcome PTSD; One Young Veterans Story

By KBJR News 1

March 22, 2012 Updated Mar 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM CDT

Duluth, MN - (Northland's NewsCenter) - Sometimes the perils of going off to war are not just felt on the battlefield...but they often come home with the soldier when they return.

27 year old Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Bryan Adams didn't know he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when he came home from a year long tour in Iraq in 2004.

Specialist Bryan Adams was a sniper in the United States Army, deployed to Iraq in February 2004-to-2005, where he was wounded.

"About eight months into my tour I was caught in an ambush and I was shot in my left leg and my left hand."

After returning home from his deployment in 2005, Adams started experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.

"I started to slowly unravel, I had a lot of trouble sleeping, I didn't really want to interact with the population, I started having really bad nightmares...I just had a lot of frustration and anger, people really can't understand what you're going through."

PTSD affects one-in-five of American soldiers who've been deployed to war zones.

If undiagnosed...they could have destructive consequences.

"Those sometimes lead then to self medication because they don't realize they a mental health problem and that number one choice of self medication is alcohol."

Because of the professional help he received, as well as the support from his fellow military friends, Adams was able to put a label on what he was experiencing.

"I think that that was probably the most important factor in my recovery was just being able to recognize what it was. Because that's how we think, give us a mission and we'll accomplish it and that's kind of how I viewed it as my new mission is to try to overcome this."

Now a national mental health speaker, Adams is dedicating his life to help ad encourage other veterans experiencing PTSD.

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something you can recover from and you can actually become stronger after you go through the process and you build yourself back up."

Adams says his goal in speaking out about PTSD is to not only eliminate the negative stigma associated PTSD...but to also give encouragement to those who suffer from it as well.

Adams spoke tonight at St. Scholastica's Mitchell Auditorium to talk about his struggle with overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

All Donations given at the event will go towards the Miller-Dwan Foundation's Amberwing project and the Timothy Martin Miller fund.

Danyel Piecek