4/20/2014

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Good deed goes wrong, PTSD may be to blame

Good deed goes wrong, PTSD may be to blame

VANCOUVER, Wash. – A woman took in an old friend who needed a place to stay but that old friend is now accused of attacking her.

The attack may have been brought on by some kind of flashback. But no one can say for sure yet. A doctor at the Department of Veterans Affairs said the symptoms the man exhibited do fit with classic post-traumatic stress disorder.

Bernita Johnson took in her old friend Anthony Elliott.

"Tighter and tighter. I kept telling him I couldn't breathe," Johnson said about the alleged attack.

She said Elliot wrapped his arm around her neck, was naked, violent and seemed to be in another place.

But what may be written off as another assault got complicated when Elliott's father told KATU News his son is a Navy veteran with PTSD.

And these symptoms can point to "a re-experiencing," said Dr. David Greaves with the VA hospital.

"Flashbacks is the term," he said. "It's very common that they will have thoughts that come into their minds, suddenly – memories about the events that they experience over in war that are fairly distressing."

Greaves said he can't comment on what may have happened to Elliott on Wednesday. But he does say people need to be aware of PTSD symptoms.

"If they don't feel like they're ready to go to the hospital, try to connect with another veteran or somebody that you trust – that you can talk to and just feel like you can get some support," he said.

Johnson said she hopes her other friend does get support, but she's not going to stop opening her home to her friends.

"I'm not going to change just because of one person's mistake, or two people – that's just how I am. I don't know why I'm like that," she said.

Elliott was arrested and faces two second-degree assault charges.

Greaves said people can always call the VA hospital if they need some help dealing with PTSD.

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