For months, David George, 27, of Fairfield, Iowa, had been eyeing a pistol he saw at a local store. In 2004, shortly after returning from Iraq, the former specialist in the 101st Airborne Division moved into his parents' home in Maryland. At every noise, George, who owned a rifle, systematically moved from one room to the next to make sure the house was clear. The pistol, he thought, would make it easier. "But I didn't buy it, because I knew if I brought it home I'd shoot myself," he said.
George struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, a form of anxiety that develops after enduring a traumatic experience.
For five years, George underwent stints of medication and talk therapy, both intended to quell his PTSD symptoms. But neither method worked for him, he said. "It [the medications] helped make me not who I am. It took away my creativity, my personality, my ability to care about anything," said George. "The one-on-ones were like, why am I talking to someone who has no idea what I've been through."
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