Potential Psychological Impact from Vegas Shooting

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EDINBURG – A Rio Grande Valley doctor explained its likely concertgoers who survived the shooting could have issues dealing with the incident.

On Sunday, from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock opened fire on nearly 22,000 people attending a country concert.

In videos from the scene, you can hear automatic gunfire, people running for their lives and others using their own bodies to shield others from the bullets.

Fifty-nine people are reported dead and more than 500 wounded are seeking care.

Tropical Texas Behavioral Health psychiatrist and chief medical officer Dr. Daniel Gutierrez said victims could feel lasting psychological impacts.

"Some physical symptoms of anxiety and fear and hyper-alertness,” said Dr. Gutierrez.

Dr. Gutierrez said these symptoms fall under Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"Feelings of reliving it and the thoughts intruding in your mind, and you can't stop thinking about it you see it like a picture or a movie. And it's there and it creates those same kinds of feeling,” he said. 

Dr. Gutierrez explained a victim must first be diagnosed with PTSD by a certified medical professional and then get help.

"The treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder is talking about it, being able to process it and eventually what you hope is that person won’t forget. Because we don't forget things but it doesn't create those feelings, thoughts of hopelessness,” said Dr. Gutierrez.

In times of crisis, Tropical Texas trains non-medical professionals in their mental health first aid program.

"I know Tropical has been asked in the past if we can send some volunteers to go out and help them,” said Dr. Gutierrez.

Responders will help recognize signs of mental health problems until professionals are on scene.

Dr. Gutierrez said this is a time for the country to come together and help each other.

Tropical Texas Behavioral Health's Mental Health First Aid training offers their course in Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties. For more information about the program call tropical at 956-289-7000.


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