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A Sign of Strength: Getting Treatment for PTSD in the Guard

Williams photo

CPT Daniel Williams was always interested in understanding the challenges related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When Williams was young, his father had PTSD. Family members often mentioned that his dad “wasn’t like this before the war.” Despite asking questions about PTSD, he was never satisfied with the answers he got.

In 1993, Williams joined the Army, and during a humanitarian medical mission in Africa he realized his true passion was medicine and helping people. Fast forward 12 years, and he rejoined the military as a Texas Army National Guard (ARNG) Soldier. Today, he serves as a psychiatrist for the 36th Infantry Division. He also works as a psychiatrist, focused on PTSD, in his civilian job.

As one of two psychiatrists in the Texas ARNG, Williams is always busy meeting and establishing relationships with Soldiers. “It’s important to meet the Soldiers where they’re at. What do they want to get out of this? I want them to have a positive experience with behavioral health,” he said.

He knows it’s important to not only provide treatment to Soldiers, but also overcome the stigma associated with behavioral health and PTSD.

“Having PTSD does not make a Soldier weak or unfit to serve,” Williams said. “PTSD is real, and it is treatable. I want to bring hope back to these Soldiers. I want to look them in the eye and convince them that they are not broken.”

Williams looks at each Soldier as an individual because he knows PTSD affects each person differently. No two cases are the same. Some Soldiers may have anxiety and depression, while others may have trouble sleeping or struggle with alcohol or drug abuse. Williams’ specialty is treating multiple concerns at the same time.

For Soldiers struggling with PTSD, he encourages them to reach out and seek support. “No one is meant to carry the weight of everything by themselves,” Williams said.

Resources such as the National Guard’s Psychological Health Coordinators and chaplains are both available whenever Soldiers need them. Soldiers can also reach out for immediate help by calling 911 or the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK (8255). Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help, and all calls are confidential. 

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