Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Ron's Story: Therapy Helps - Ron's story


For 38 years, Ron kept his Vietnam memories to himself. When stress brought on flashbacks, he dealt with them by drinking them away.

"I didn't realize I had a problem," he said. "I run a very successful program with a great staff. I considered it recreational drinking, but really I was self-medicating."

But on one blazing summer day he couldn't get the flashbacks to go away, no matter how much he drank. He kept drinking, and he passed out.

When he came to, he knew it was finally time to get help.

Ron went through an alcohol treatment program. That led to counseling for PTSD and treatment to help him think about his memories in a different way.

He believes it helped him finally talk about what happened in Vietnam. First he told a psychiatrist. Then he told his wife.

He told them about one assignment behind enemy lines.

In Vietnam, Ron was an aircraft mechanic. Because he knew how planes fit together, he was sent once to pull bodies out of a C-47 that had crashed into the side of a mountain.

While soldiers guarded the crash site against attack by the Vietcong, Ron crawled into the wreckage. For 2 or 3 days, he pulled out pieces of bodies and put them in body bags.

The smell, the sounds, and the images are what he relives in his flashbacks. He figures he's never been able to talk about it because he couldn't describe the horror.

He always thought that only combat soldiers got PTSD.

"I thought it happened to guys who were in battle, guys who saw action," he said. "I always felt like I should get a grip, it was just one assignment. I felt like a wimp."

Even when he was diagnosed with PTSD, he denied it. "I said it's not PTSD. I'm just having trouble with a memory."

"I spent a lifetime trying to avoid admitting it was bothering me," he said.

Ron's therapy is working on changing his thought patterns. The desire to drink is gone, he said.

"I thought I was being brave by ignoring it. But I was really being brave by facing up to it."

Ron's story reflects his experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Ron, to protect his privacy.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Ron's Story: Therapy Helps Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    senior man eating a cake
    woman reading medicine warnings
    depressed young woman
    man with arms on table
    man cringing and covering ears

    WebMD Special Sections