Couple combats war, post traumatic stress disorder together
Amanda and Robert Melicio on their wedding day in 2008. They met while serving in the Iraq war.
September 8th, 2012
06:02 PM ET

Couple combats war, post traumatic stress disorder together

By Rusty Dornin, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Roberto and Amanda Melecio share many of the same nightmares.

They don't like crowds, rarely trust anyone and both suffer serious bouts of depression.  Married since 2005, they are both Iraq War veterans, and each has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

When Amanda Melecio came back from Iraq in 2005, she struggled to be the person she once was. "When I came home I couldn't socialize," Melicio says. "I have a lot of anxiety."

Her husband Roberto served as a scout and an Army combat engineer and disarmed bombs. "I was a human bulletproof vest," he jokes. He rarely sleeps and suffers from horrific nightmares. He struggles with his temper.

"We're not the normal couple. My wife and I are a rare breed." he says. "We happened to meet in the war."

While studies show women in the general population are twice as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress as men, the rates for returning veterans are about the same - 20% for both men and women.

"We're definitely seeing more duel PTSD cases with returning vets," says Candice Monson, a clinical expert on how post-traumatic stress disorder affects couples.  "It's largely a product of the changing policy of women in the military. While women are not supposed to be in combat, the reality is they are."


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