Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may be key in treating PTSD and TBI

CENTRAL TEXAS (originally posted by News Channel 25) –Veterans could soon have a better way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Some medical officials believe this could have a big impact on the number of suicides by returning vets.

Now local counties are signing on to back a new course of treatment. Both Milam and Lampasas Counties passed resolutions Monday in support of using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for veterans.

The use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers has been around for years, but medical officials are just now taking note of the healing effects they could have on the brain.

Veterans suffering from PTSD or TBI could soon be on the mend with the help of hyperbaric oxygen therapy or H-BOT.

Rainey Owen, whose grandson suffered from TBI after surviving three improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, says many veterans in Texas would benefit from the treatment.

“125,000 Texas veterans, that while they were in fields of combat, had some forms of brain injury, a concussion, they loss consciousness, something of that nature.”

Owen is working to raise awareness and bring hyperbaric oxygen therapy to Texas veterans.

“If we have 125,000 of them we got a bunch of people that are handicapped every bit as much as those that lost a limb or any other kind of disablement,” says Owen.

For one hour a day, five days a week, the patient would be inside a hyperbaric chamber. It increases the amount of oxygen in both the red blood cells and tissue in the body.

Owens’s grandson received the treatment through Oklahoma State University and he says his grandson is proof it works.

“He’s back,” says Owen. “And it occurs to me that if they can that in Oklahoma, why can’t we do that in Texas.”

However, this method of healing won’t come cheap. The full 80 sessions will cost about $25,000.

“A full 80 treatments would run about $25,000 per person,” says Owen. “Now the offset to that of course is that the state, Texas, is spending anywhere from $25,000 to 50,000 a year for the rest of the victims life in unemployment, in Medicare costs, drugs, therapy, alcohol treatment, jobless benefits, homelessness and all of those kinds of things.”

Though H-BOT hasn’t been approved by the government, Owen’s is hoping his list of nearly 40 counties across the state will put pressure on state officials.

“I’ve seen it with my grandson, and if veterans in Texas could benefit from it. We owe it to them. [It’s] real simple. I’ve seen that it works, and if they’re not getting better with the treatment that they’re getting, whatever that may be, then deserve better.”

Owen says he hopes a bill similar to Oklahoma’s, which offers the treatment at no cost to veterans, will be drafted and adopted in the next Texas legislature.