Conference Sheds Light on Ways to Cope With PTSD

Oct 6, 2017

Christian Benedetto Jr. and Victor Nichols, founders of PTSD Journal
Credit Ang Santos / WBGO

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is often associated with military personnel, first responders, and others whose livelihood puts them in dangerous situations.  A US Department of Veterans Affairs study shows one in two people experience a traumatic event that could cause PTSD at some point in their life.

“You can get bit by a dog.  You can be in a car accident or witness a car accident.  You can be the victim of a mugging or watch somebody get mugged.  You can almost drown or work in an ER.  You can be a burn victim.  There’s thousands of ways you can get PTSD.”

Christian Benedetto Jr. has PTSD.  A marine who suffered his first symptoms after the Gulf War.  He co-founded the PTSD Journal in 2013.  Not your typical medical journal but a magazine.

“I started to look for information and realized there was no nexus-lexus, no one stop shop for PTSD.  I went to my good friend Vic Nichols who’s the co-founder with me.  I pitched him the idea and here we are.”

Victor Nichols is no stranger to print.  Once publishing the Official New Jersey Travel Guide.

“You don’t know when you may have a traumatic incident that may trigger PTSD.  That’s the other piece of this.  This can be preemptive in a way.  Having a family member or being in contact with us may give you some coping tools prior to you having an incident that would bring on PTSD.”

The Invisible Wounds Conference, hosted by the PTSD Journal, is a gathering of advocates and those who suffer from the disorder.  For one Medal of Honor Recipient in attendance, it’s both.

The Invisible Wounds Conference, hosted by the PTSD Journal, is a gathering of advocates and those who suffer from the disorder.
Credit WBGO / Ang Santos

“Trying to give an alternate solution to the symptoms of PTSD or anxiety which is Alpha-Stim, an alternate solution to meds.”

Dakota Meyer carries a small silver device that looks like a fancy handheld cassette player.  It has an attachment that looks like earbuds too.

“So basically, what Alpha Stim does is it puts electrodes on both of your ears.  Through electrodes it melts away the anxiety.  That’s what it does for me.  In my opinion, we should start everybody out on this instead of directly to medications.”

“There’s a lot of off label use when it comes to treating PTSD unfortunately.  That includes Ambien, Valium, those types of things, and of course opioids.  They all have addiction potential if they’re used on a long-term basis.”

Jessica Morris is the Vice President of Operations for Tonix Pharmaceuticals, who’s lead program is Tonmya, a PTSD treatment drug still in development.

“With our drug, based on a phase two study, had a very favorable side effect profile.  This is a chronic condition.  You might have to take this pill for the rest of your life.  You want it to be something that works but is also tolerated and has limited side effects.”

Chris Kreiger is the president of Western New York Heroes.  He says some of their veterans found PTSD relief in service dogs.

“We started our “Pawsitive For Heroes” program in 2013.  Right now, we have thirty-two veterans in the program which means thirty-two dogs.  We want these veterans to know that when you get a service dog, it’s not a cure.  It’s not the end all be all and your PTSD is done.  It has to be interacted into an everyday treatment plan.”

The PTSD Journal plans to take the Invisible Wounds Conference to Washington. 

“Education and awareness are what we want people to come away from this with.  They need to understand that it’s not just a military disorder and it can happen to anybody at any time,”  said magazine co-founder Christian Benedetto.

If you know somebody struggling with PTSD, the magazine can be viewed for free at PTSD Journal.com.