Editor's note: This article has been revised to reflect the following correction, which will appear in the May 1 print edition. U.S. Air Force veteran Jeffrey Towery served during Operation Desert Shield. An article about his talk on post-traumatic stress disorder in Hinesville that appeared in the April 24 edition incorrectly said he was a combat veteran. The Coastal Courier regrets the error.
An overflow crowd packed Farmer’s Natural Foods April 14 for an evening seminar on how to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jeffrey Towery, U.S. Air Force Desert Shield veteran, talked about how he has coped with PTSD for more than two decades. He said many veterans in this region struggle with the condition.
Towery began with a short video of the late George Carlin, the stand-up comedian and social critic. In the video, Carlin spoke of the different names PTSD has had over the years — World War I’s "shell shock," World War II and the Korean War’s "battle fatigue," and subsequent use of the term "PTSD."
According to www.ptsd.va.gov, the American Psychiatric Association added PTSD to the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as DSM-III, in 1980. It was Vietnam War veterans who were first recognized as suffering from the disorder.
Towery told the crowd how he had tried to deal with PTSD while living in California before returning to his native Liberty County and finally finding relief by following a regimen through seeking counseling, consuming a diet of healthy "plant based" foods and following up with "fresh air, exercise and sunshine," adding that the last item is important.
He strongly urged the audience of veterans and their families to take advantage of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center on East Oglethorpe Highway. Towery also introduced Kaliana Schmidt who spoke about aromatherapy and provided a demonstration. In addition, she selected an audience member to experience the use of essential oils.
Towery said PTSD episodes can occur at any time, even years after a life-changing traumatic event.
"It isn’t easy to overcome," he said. "Don’t bury it or suppress it."
Towery urged a "holistic approach of medical, mind, body, food," which, he said, "can help you cope with it."
The Department of Veterans Affairs has help available not only for combat veterans, but also their family members, he added.
Afterward, the audience was treated to a giveaway of Schmidt’s Kaliana Aromatherapy and other holistic gifts through ticket drawings.