By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9
People who knew the airman who is thought to have killed his kids before taking his own life said he was having problems adjusting to life back in the U.S. after returning from Iraq.
People close this highly-decorated airman said he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. PTSD is a condition affecting a number of American veterans of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dr. Judy Forshee is a psychiatrist at Oklahoma City Veteran Medical Center and sees many veterans with PTSD.
"PTSD is intrusive memories, nightmares of some trauma that's happening and it's more than a memory, it's as if you're re-experiencing it, you see it you feel it," Forshee said.
She said during a post traumatic stress episode, it's hard for the sufferers to distinguish a flashback from reality.
"They may have anxiety attacks," Foreshee said. "They often have trouble going out in public, so they start spending more and more time at home, isolating."
Forshee said it's rare that a sufferer resorts to violence, but the disorder does impact family relationships.
"It's going to affect their parenting skills and affect their ability to contribute to their marriage, affect their job, affect school, affects everything in their lives," Forshee said.
Tinker Installation Commander Col. Mark Correll said the Air Force offers help for service members who suffer from the condition.
"We have a wide range of services that we provide to folks that start with our mental health clinic, which has capability for the military member as well as through our medical care for their family members to be referred off base," Correll said.
Medical experts said post traumatic stress could be a life-long illness, but it can be managed with medication and counseling.
The VA Hospital actually has program designed just for veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom as well as a program for their family members who may be dealing with PTSD.
For more information on VA services, visit www.oklahoma.va.gov