By: ANNIE TASKER
Bucks County Courier Times–December 03, 2009 02:07 AM
An enlisted Navy psychiatrist offered advice on how to address post-traumatic stress disorder. Routinely facing the fear that the road beneath them would detonate, a group of military supply truck drivers came up with their own way of making it through the day. They’d meet at the base’s coffee cart and talk about the funniest thing that happened on their last run – which, more often than not, involved flatulence. That was one coping mechanism described Wednesday by Patcho Santiago, an assistant professor for the Uniformed Services University’s department of psychiatry. Santiago addressed responses to disasters and post-traumatic stress disorder at a workshop at Doylestown Hospital’s Health and Wellness Center in Warrington. Wednesday’s workshop, sponsored by Doylestown nonprofit Foundations Community Partnership, comes with the public still reeling and details still emerging about the mass shooting at Fort Hood. The attack last month left 13 dead and more than 30 injured. Santiago, an active duty Navy psychiatrist, said he wasn’t authorized to talk about the incident; the shooter, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, was a graduate of the federal health sciences university where he works. Instead, he discussed the impact of disasters on mental health, characteristics of people with post-traumatic stress and how to address its effects. When people experience a traumatic event, 10 percent won’t have any post-traumatic stress symptoms, Santiago said. Two-thirds have some symptoms that get better over time, and a quarter will chronically feel the disaster’s effects.