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Survivors of Movie Massacre Likely to Develop Depression, PTSD, Doctor Says
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Traumatic events bring up all past traumatic events. The article suggests that behavioral therapy aimed at desensitization is optimal. This is not correct. The most effective form of treatment for trauma is the activation of mourning. It is only in the guided mourning process that the current event and the PAST events that have emerged alongside of it can be resolved. Mourning cannot be done alone but needs to be facilitated in a safe, secure, neutral environment with a neutral, informed counselor.


“Survivors of Movie Massacre Likely to Develop Depression, PTSD, Doctor Says”

Alex Crees | July 20, 2012

A gunman opened fire at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises early Friday morning in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and injuring 59 others. The suspect, James Holmes, 24, is in custody after eyewitnesses told police Holmes set off a smoke bomb inside the theater and then started shooting.

Movie attendees described the scene as “chaotic” and “terrifying,” as they dropped to the floor and hid behind seats or ran for their lives, while other audience members were shot around them.

In the coming weeks and months, as the community focuses on moving past the event and healing, witnesses may face a number of mental, emotional and psychological hurdles, in addition to any physical injuries they may have suffered, said one psychiatry expert.

“For the victims, [the fallout] is going to be tremendous,” Dr. Michael First, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, told Fox News. “There are a lot of people who were exposed to an unspeakably horrible event…and with the randomness of it, I suspect the vast majority were literally fearing for their own lives.”

Among other conditions, First said people could develop depression or substance abuse disorders, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“The most common reaction to a traumatic experience is not PTSD [as people may think], but actually the increased use of alcohol or other drugs, and depression,” First said. “It’s understandable; people want to numb themselves and self-medicate.”

In addition, for anyone who was already suffering from a mental or physical condition, such as depression, the event could exacerbate it.

“Most mental disorders can be made worse with stress, and this is about as stressful as an experience as anyone could have,” First said. “There’s a strong link between the mind and the body, so I think people can expect a rough time after this and need to be on the lookout for any condition being worse.”…


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