Veteran fights ptsd and substance use – finds his way back to living life

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Army Veteran Todd Sims served as a cavalry scout from 2001 through 2006 and deployed to Iraq in 2004.

After serving our country, Sims returned to his Chattanooga home where he faced his next war – battling his mental health.

When Army Veteran Todd Sims realized he was facing  PTSD, he started trying to cope by self-medicating with illegal substances. Eventually, this led to suicide attempts and prison time.

“It’s hard to say we need help. We would take physical war any day of the week rather than a mental war,” says Todd Sims, Army Veteran.

After he was released from federal prison,  he decided it was time to regain control of his life by enrolling in the Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program through the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. 

“It’s designed to address substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, or both. It really works with veteran rehabilitation, recovery Mc health maintenance and also assists our veterans when they are reintegrating back into the community,” says Dr. Kristin Hess, Program Manager.

The treatment facility houses a voluntary rehabilitation program that incorporates evidence-based, Veteran-centric practices to help Veterans recover from PTSD and substance use disorders.

“I was able to go in there and scratch surfaces I didn’t think I was going to be able to scratch. That was the point of wanting to put the same fight I did into being a soldier as being in recovery,” says Sims.

With the ongoing pandemic, the anniversary of 9/11 fast approaching, and the recent unrest in Afghanistan – many veterans are finding themselves at war again- but this time with their mental health.

Sims says the program has reminded him about the importance of fighting this fight, alongside his brothers and sisters.

“When another veteran comes up to another veteran and says ‘hey man, I know where you have been. I have seen the scenes and I’ve smelled the smells. I know what you are going through. I have been through the ups and downs – you are so able to open up, I just want to bring that awareness and say it’s real, it’s a fight but it’s also a fight we can overcome,” says Sims.

 If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD or substance use disorder, help is available. Learn more about the Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program here.

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