Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered astronomical rates of traumatic brain injury, but a new breakthrough treatment could put an end to toxic drug cocktails and bring about remarkable recovery.
Although the treatment is somewhat experimental, testimonials from veterans desperate for relief are starting to rack up. Two Army Ranger veterans finishing up treatment at a facility in Tucson, Arizona, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the procedure saved their lives.
Clint Chamberlin is just one of the veterans who has seen incredible recovery because of the Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatment, which he sought due to the failure of the Department of Veterans Affairs failure to provide him serious treatment apart from a list of psychotropic drugs.
Those drugs often cause more trouble than they’re worth and can increase suicide risk, but the VA has kept the same treatment practices in place since the end of the Vietnam era. Chamberlin told TheDCNF he had given up hope on the VA treatments and was suicidal, until his friends told him about HBOT and he tried the treatment.
“I had given up hope and was dead set so to speak on killing myself until some fellow veterans showed up to my house in Montana and escorted me to a plane to get me out of my living situation,” Chamberlin told TheDCNF. “I wanted to try Hyperbaric as a starting point because nothing the VA did had done anything to help other than suppress my life with pills,” he added.
As an Army Ranger, Chamberlin served a total of seven combat deployments, consisting of two deployments in Iraq and five in Afghanistan. During his time on the front lines, he saw plenty of action: firing thousands of rounds, using explosives to breach buildings and jumping out of aircraft at least 46 times.
But when he came home from deployment, the scars from the battlefield stuck with him, and the VA treatments weren’t helping. A friend of Clint’s mentioned HBOT as an alternative treatment that actually helps to heal the brain, as opposed to medicine that just dampens symptoms.
HBOT works by pumping pure oxygen into a body chamber to increase tissue oxygen availability. For patients suffering from a TBI, the hypothesis is that some of the injured tissue is non-functioning, and pure oxygen helps to reactivate the tissue, which can mitigate the impact of a TBI.
Receiving pure oxygen transformed Chamberlin’s life. “A cloud that I had lived with for so long has been lifted, giving me real hope to continue living a prosperous and healthy life once again after a decade of unbearable suffering,” he said.
Success with HBOT has prompted Chamberlin to abandon the VA.
“I do not deal any further with the VA because all of my experiences have only been counselors and medications that only worsened my condition, taking away all hope, almost causing me to take my own life, because nothing they did for me ever helped in the way of long term emotional stability,” he told TheDCNF.
According to Charles Spillar, executive director of Healing Arizona Veterans, the VA often misdiagnoses traumatic brain injury as PTSD, even though the conditions are distinct. TBI is physiological, while PTSD is psychological. The goal of Healing Arizona Veterans, a non-profit organization, is to reverse the nightmare of mainstream treatments for TBI and provide high-grade oxygen therapy to veterans for free.
“The treatments for each are totally different,” Spillar told TheDCNF. “When you realize that thousands of combat veterans are being misdiagnosed and being given treatments that are actually harming their condition.Drugs will never heal a mTBI.”
TBI has been the subject of renewed medical attention recently because of the controversy in the National Football League regarding the long-term health impacts of concussions. Some players have even decided to abandon pro-football altogether.
Akili King, an Army Ranger who helped bring Chamberlin over from Montana to Arizona, said he sees HBOT as an essential part of healing the brain.
“I originally was only taking Clint to get an assessment for himself,” King said. “After listening to the assessment, I asked Dr. Henricks if I could be assessed as well.”
“There is no magic pill or treatment that heals all the trauma associated with being a soldier,” King told TheDCNF. “Every individual is different which is why I decided to see what works for me. No expectations other than taking care of my body and my brain in order to build a life that works for my life.”
“I feel much better, my memory is getting better, and my mood swings have stabilized since starting my treatment process,” Akili King told TheDCNF.
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