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Hyperbaric Chamber Helping Iraq Vet Battle PTSD

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File photo of a hyperbaric chamber. (credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

File photo of a hyperbaric chamber. (credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – If one Iraq veteran from Houston is any indication of what the future may hold for rehabbing veterans of post-traumatic stress disorder, then the technology could be readily available right now.

In 2009, Jeffrey Ruiz’s armed vehicle in Iraq was impacted by 46 IEDs “in or around 50 meters,” he recalled to the Houston Chronicle. After the attack, Ruiz suffered multiple concussions and seizures while on duty. When he was released from the Army and returned home, he was diagnosed with PTSD, but he continued to suffer flashbacks and memory loss. He even contemplated suicide.

“I had started to become like more and more distant,” Ruiz told the Houston Chronicle. “It was a unique experience.”

But something happened. Ruiz’s parents suggested that their son look into a physical therapist in Florida who had worked with soldiers suffering from PTSD. What he found was a hyperbaric chamber, normally used for burn victims.

“The idea was, I thought it was cockamamie I guess,” Ruiz told the Chronicle.

After 40 treatments, Ruiz’s medication has been reduced to one low-dose anti-depressant a day.

“Most of my soldiers, some of them have been out for years, but they have a huge change with this simple technique,” Ray Crallie, the physical therapist who helped Ruiz, told the Chronicle.

As a result of Ruiz’s treatment, the Department of Defense is now looking into the effectiveness of hyperbaric-chamber therapy for veterans.

“He’s back, and that’s what it took, I do believe,” Ruiz’s mom told the Chronicle.

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