LANSING, Michigan. (WILX) A little more than 500 000 American soldiers and civilians suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflict.
The loss of memory and headaches continue to plague Army Veteran Michael Gatter for nearly 20 years after sustaining three devastating brain injuries suffered during deployment in Iraq.
“Somebody took an explosive satchel, tossed it onto the car, which exploded,” Gatter recalled.
The military vehicle was able to steer clear of a truck running away, and then rolled, slamming into the ground, putting the driver in the air in mid-air.
“I unbuckled my harness , and after I removed the buckle the harness, it fell head-first on the driver’s hatch.” Gatter said.
Then, at the third strike and a tank hatch slammed him on the head. The three incidents led to 20 years of crippling headaches and memory loss until he took part in a revolutionary research study on cognitive behavior conducted in collaboration with UT Health San Antonio.
It’s known as cognitive behavioral treatment for migraine (CBTH). Researchers have modified psychotherapy treatments typically used to treat migraine sufferers.
“Not only did we observe improved headache outcomes with the treatment for headaches, but as was to be expected, but we also saw PTSD improvements comparable to gold-standard PTSD therapy,” explained the doctor. Don McGeary.
Therapy was a time when experienced clinical psychologists trained vets to reduce their headache-related triggers, reduce anxiety and return to everyday activities.
“It actually helps them deal with stress more effectively,” McGeary said.
“My goal is to help my veterans community,” Gatter said. “What I enjoy doing is to learn everything I can and pass it on.”
McGeary and his coworkers created this treatment by altering an earlier migraine research. All research was conducted in the Veterans Health Center of South Texas Care system.
They hope for ways to reproduce their results using more of a diverse group. They intend to conduct tests on CBTH as part of a bigger test across a range of military and VA locations across in the United States.
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