Fla. veteran treats PTSD by going bare

Fla. veteran treats PTSD by going bare

Credit: WTSP 10 News

Max Sanchez, a war veteran, says going bare at a nearby clothing-optional community helps him deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(Photo: WTSP 10 News)

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WTSP-TV Tampa, Fla.

Posted on April 8, 2014 at 10:25 AM

LUTZ, Fla. — Every year, millions of people in the United States are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, but for some a doctor's office just isn't enough.

Surrounded by memories of the battlefield, Vietnam veteran Max Sanchez says his time in the Army — "Four years, six months, three days" — is something he'll never forget. "I can't change what happened. There were things that were good there and there were things that were bad."

Sanchez is one of more than 5 million people in the world living with PTSD..

"When you think you have a problem and you start thinking about it, it manifests in you and you start looking for it to get worse and worse," he said. "I don't want to be violent. I don't want to be angry,"

And while Sanchez has been to a therapist to help to treat his PTSD, he says that doesn't always work, so he found a different way.

According to Sanchez, he's a part of a group of veterans who live at the Fountains at Paradise Lakes, a clothing-optional housing complex, where they find peace by going bare.

"I forget about the whole world," said Sanchez.

Dr. Kevin Kip, of the University of South Florida's College of Nursing, said people have different ways of dealing with stressful situations.

Information from a traumatic experience...the images get stored incorrectly in the brain and if you don't have a therapy to help essentially store it properly, it will be chronic, disabling ... you'll have nightmares, flashbacks," he said.

Kip said he has treated hundreds of veterans with PTSD, and says he supports out-of-the-box therapies.

"I'm always open to new therapies," he said. "Anything that is stress reducing is beneficial."

But it's an out-of-the-clothes therapy, that's helping veterans like Sanchez and some of his veteran neighbors.

"Would it be helpful for everybody? No, for many reasons," says Sanchez. "Anything you find that works is what's important."

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