'Invisible Wounds of War': Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Devastating America's Veterans
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 5, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "OUR AMERICA"/OWN)
LISA LING, "OUR AMERICA": Peter Alred (ph) can't sleep. He's on high alert, like he was in combat in Iraq, eight years ago. His kids are safe in bed and his wife is worried.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's always in fear, waiting for something terrible to happen.
LING: But even the most secure bunker can't keep out the memories that haunt him and make life unbearable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He feels like he's broken. And he feels like me and the kids would be better off if he were dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: That was a clip from "Our America With Lisa Ling" on the Oprah Winfrey Network and in this Sunday's episode, Lisa uncovers what she calls the "invisible wounds of war." And joining me now to explain more about all this is Lisa Ling.
Good to see you, welcome back.
LING: Thanks for having me, Sean.
HANNITY: Appreciate you being here. You know, I know all about this. We're talking about post traumatic stress.
LING: That's right.
HANNITY: It is -- many people are suffering, correct?
LING: It is. This actually might be one of the most important things I've ever done because so many men and women have been deployed on multiple tours overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, and thousands and thousands of them are coming back with devastating levels of post traumatic stress disorder.
And I've heard so much about it, I've read so many reports about it, but
I've never seen what it looks like manifested in veterans until this experience. And a couple of soldiers who had recently returned from combat opened their lives to me in the most profound way and it was truly one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever seen, but also the most moving because I attended this wellness retreat with them, and they did things like yoga and meditation, and one might think how could that possibly help?
But I actually saw these veterans call their spirits back, and it gave me hope that this could be something that more veterans should look into.
HANNITY: You know, it's funny because I have a friend of mine that put together a post traumatic stress disorder tape, it's a stress relief tape for these guys and apparently he's had great success, and there's a colonel that supports it and I donate a little money and try to him help him out and get it started. It -- these are wounds of war and we don't look at it that way. These guys come back and they are traumatized and they wake up in the middle of the night and they're sweating and they're just -- in a sense, mentally they're as wounded as somebody that had been physically hurt in the war.
LING: That's right, and the collateral damage, the impact that it has on families is also devastating on spouses and on children. And to actually see what it looks and what feels like, I mean, it truly, truly was heartbreaking. And I hope that people will watch this so they can better understand what so many thousands of our young men and women are dealing with and consider even implementing these kinds of programs in their communities because it's so, so vital.
HANNITY: How widespread did you find this? And I've watched all of your documentaries, they're very well done. You did a terrific one on drugs and heroin and...
LING: That means a lot to me, Sean. Thank you.
HANNITY: No, no, no. They're really well documented. You spend a lot of time, you followed people over the years in that document. I mean, it was really well chronicled.
So, you spent a lot of time on these documentaries that you're doing. How widespread? How -- how much -- how many people, what percentage of people are being impacted when they get back?
LING: Well, possibly hundreds of thousands of soldiers, and that's the thing. I mean, right now, these veterans are so heavily medicated so everybody's searching for what to do next, and I hope the people will just look at this option. On average of 18 veterans will commit suicide a day in this country. More veterans have committed suicide once they've return home to the United States than have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And as veterans and active duty military continue to come home, we're talking about a crisis of epic proportions and this affects all of us -- all different kinds of anti-tremendous presents. I recently heard about a soldier who was taking 47 pills a day.
HANNITY: Crazy. You talk about the families. You know, what's interesting because I know you work with Oprah and you're close to Oprah, right?
LING: Yes, I am.
HANNITY: You know, even though we disagree on politics and I know she supported Barak and I obviously didn't, I'm not a big fan of him. But, I've watched her over the years and somebody is doing a book on the religion of Oprah. I forget what it's actually called.
HANNITY: And it's interesting to me, because I've read "The Road Less Traveled," she recommended that years ago. I've read, "The Power of Now" and "The New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle.
LING: I know, I sent her an e-mail to tell her that you watched the entire Web series, because I think it's fantastic and I'm glad you're talking about it.
HANNITY: Because this is something everybody deals with, stress, but soldiers are working 18, 20 hours a day. Bombs, you know, blowing up friends and you're dealing with wounded people and dead friends...
LING: And people don't understand that. And then they're expected to maintain normal lives once they get home and then they're prone to...
HANNITY: And then they come home and everything's fine.
LING: Yeah, just hyper-vigilance and paranoia when you're constantly preparing for something to happen and you're in that state. It's impossible to do, and that's why so many veterans are suffering. And this is an entire generation we're talking about, and we owe it to them to pay attention and recognize what they're going through and try and help, yeah.
HANNITY: Yeah, we don't do enough for the military in a lot of different ways, for their families and I'm glad you did this. Really good to see you. It's on Sunday night, what time?
LING: Sunday nights at 10:00 on OWN.
HANNITY: OK, all right, good to see you. Lisa, thank you so much for being with us.
LING: Thank you.
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