PTSD and the Fort Hood gunman

FORT HOOD, Texas (WAVY) — Fort Hood’s commanding officer confirmed that the gunman of Wednesday night’s shooting at the Army post, Ivan Lopez, was being treated by a psychiatrist and undergoing evaluation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

10 On Your Side wanted to know about the process for being diagnosed with PTSD and if it would make him more likely to become violent. So, we sat down with Dr. James Reeves, Director of Mental Health at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

Dr. Reeves said that while a person can be diagnosed on his or her first visit, it usually takes about two or three sessions, which would be about a month.

Officials have said Lopez was stationed at Ft. Hood just over a month ago. As for the tendencies toward violence, here’s what Dr. Reeves had to say: “In terms of the literature and the research done on people with post traumatic stress, I have not seen anything that showed that those with post traumatic stress are any more prone to committing violent acts than anyone else.”

PTSD is primarily an anxiety disorder so, most people who have it avoid crowds and can become isolated. When a person is diagnosed, Dr. Reeves said there is not necessarily a reason to take away their duties or even their weapons.

“We have a lot of people who’ve had post traumatic stress who’ve gone on with treatment and gone on to have very successful careers, and that’s  something people should be aware of that the potential to recover and to return to normal duty and to be perfectly fine, in terms of your military career, that is something people should expect,” Reeves said.

Ivan Lopez served four months in Iraq. His records show no wounds, no direct involvement in combat or any injury that might lead doctors to investigate a traumatic brain injury.

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