Featured Heroes: James Allen McElroy (1980-2011), United States Marine Corps and Army National Guard, and his widow Alicia McElroy, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Educator & Help Advocate
Alicia with her late husband Mac
James "Mac" McElroy, a thirty year-old family man who not only loved his wife and son, but also golf and football, was active duty as a combat engineer in the United States military for a total of 12 years. He initially served with the Marine Corps, deploying to Afghanistan during that time, and then went on to join the Army National Guard when his original enlistment was up. That's when Mac redeployed to the Middle East, first to Iraq and then again to Afghanistan. It was after his last tour overseas that left him feeling the effects of Post Traumatic Stress: anxiety, restlessness, depression, irritability, was hyper vigilant, and experienced memory loss.
"Mac was undergoing PTSD treatment at a Warrior Transition Battalion in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he died in his bed," Alicia says. "He was only home from Afghanistan a short while. His death was determined to be accidental, caused by multiple drug toxicity. Basically, the combination of drugs in his system slowed his heart rate to the point that it was unable to sustain life. All drugs found in his system were prescribed to him and were all in therapeutic range, meaning no excessive amounts of the drugs were found. The meds had been taken as prescribed." But, it's what this young widow discovered after her husband's death that was unnerving:
I started doing my own research and was shocked at what I found. Soldiers and veterans are being prescribed what they call the "PTSD cocktail" and are dying at an alarming rate; several hundred have died in the past two years alone. Drugs that weren't approved by the FDA for treating Post Traumatic Stress were being used anyway, with the most potent of them being Seroquel.Mac with his son Dane
Mac's death put Alicia on a mission. "
I want people to know that PTSD is real and there are other ways besides medication to get better. I also want people to know that America's finest are receiving substandard care that the military considers acceptable.
To follow Alicia in her pursuit to save soldiers against preventable deaths, please visit her facebook page:
Justice for Mac - A Soldier's Battle with PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress is characterized as a severe anxiety disorder. According to the National Center for PTSD, experts believe PTSD occurs in:
1 in 10 of Gulf War veterans
11-20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans
30 percent of Vietnam veterans
If you or someone you know needs help with PTSD or is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK. Press "1" for the Military Crisis Line.
For more information on PTSD and where you can get help and receive assistance, please visit: