Former soldier seeks help for PTSD Robert Glasgow's time in the military left him an angry man. And eventually it left him homeless.The 27-year-old Philadelphia resident joined the Marines in 2000. He was stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C., and eventually went to Iraq for six months.
"I was there when President Bush declared war," he said.
He is now considered to be part of the homeless population.
But he is not alone.
According to a November 2007 study put out by the National Alliance Against Homelessness, veterans "represent roughly 26 percent of homeless people, but only 11 percent of the civilian population 18 years and older." "This is true despite the fact that veterans are better educated, more likely to be employed, and have a lower poverty rate than the general population," the report states. Glasgow was in active duty until 2004. When he came back he got a job as a first responder with an ambulance company in Philadelphia.
Glasgow suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. When he came home after combat, people told him he always looked angry. He also got fired from the ambu lance company because of anger issues. He tried to get other jobs, but his anger kept him from keeping one.
"I felt different," he said. "It was not easy to accept."
Glasgow is just one of many veterans who suffer from PTSD, which is an anxiety disorder that a person can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. A rape victim, first responder to a disaster, or a soldier who went through combat have the potential to develop the disorder, according to Dr. Steven Silver, a U.S. Marine veteran. Silver helped start a PTSD treatment program at the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1982.
For Glasgow, the Coatesville VAMC is a blessing.
He stayed at the facility from March to June 2007 and then returned in September 2007.
"I have nowhere to go - my family tries to be there, but there is too much anger," he said.
Silver said last spring that about 40 percent of patients receiving PTSD treatment at the Coatesville VAMC are Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans. The number has climbed since the start of the Iraq war in 2003 and will continue to grow, he said.
Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has preliminarily diagnosed 83,889 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with a mental disorder since 2002. Of those veterans, 39,243 were preliminarily diagnosed with PTSD, according to the VA.
The PTSD Glasgow suffers from has left him struggling to maintain employment, despite his best efforts.
He said the last time he had a job was in September 2006.
"I just want to be all right," he said.
He is still being treated for PTSD at the Coatesville VAMC and also staying in a homeless domiciliary on the campus.