Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Ron's Story: Therapy Helps

Ron's Story: Therapy Helps

Ron's story

Un hombre

For 38 years, Ron kept his Vietnam memories to himself. When stress brought on flashbacks, he dealt with them by drinking them away.

"I didn't realize I had a problem," he said. "I run a very successful program with a great staff. I considered it recreational drinking, but really I was self-medicating."

But on one blazing summer day he couldn't get the flashbacks to go away, no matter how much he drank. He kept drinking, and he passed out.

When he came to, he knew it was finally time to get help.

Ron went through an alcohol treatment program. That led to counseling for PTSD and treatment to help him think about his memories in a different way.

He believes it helped him finally talk about what happened in Vietnam. First he told a psychiatrist. Then he told his wife.

He told them about one assignment behind enemy lines.

In Vietnam, Ron was an aircraft mechanic. Because he knew how planes fit together, he was sent once to pull bodies out of a C-47 that had crashed into the side of a mountain.

While soldiers guarded the crash site against attack by the Vietcong, Ron crawled into the wreckage. For 2 or 3 days, he pulled out pieces of bodies and put them in body bags.

The smell, the sounds, and the images are what he relives in his flashbacks. He figures he's never been able to talk about it because he couldn't describe the horror.

He always thought that only combat soldiers got PTSD.

"I thought it happened to guys who were in battle, guys who saw action," he said. "I always felt like I should get a grip, it was just one assignment. I felt like a wimp."

Even when he was diagnosed with PTSD, he denied it. "I said it's not PTSD. I'm just having trouble with a memory."

"I spent a lifetime trying to avoid admitting it was bothering me," he said.

Ron's therapy is working on changing his thought patterns. The desire to drink is gone, he said.

"I thought I was being brave by ignoring it. But I was really being brave by facing up to it."

Ron's story reflects his experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Ron, to protect his privacy.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details