Veterans give advice about PTSD following Vegas shooting

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Experts are giving advice about what people may experience after serious trauma like the shooting in Las Vegas, and when to seek help. Veterans are also sharing stories of how they overcame their Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Josh Hansen is a retired Army Sargent from Woods Cross who did two tours of duty in Iraq.After returning home in '08 he realized he suffered from PTSD. He admits hearing the sound of machine gun fire in the videos from Las Vegas can bring back bad memories for many.

"I could feel my heart rise and the anxiety kick in as you hear it, and it's upsetting to see," said Hansen.

Hansen didn't know how to deal with what was happening, but eventually sought help. He says whether it's a soldier or a civilian he wants to let people know it's okay to seek help. 

"When you go through a traumatic event like that, and see that kind of event," said Hansen. "To me definitely seek the help if you feel you need it."

Hansen said he found the most help in actually talking directly about the event and realizing how it was impacting him. He co-founded the group to Continue Mission which helps veterans with both mental and physical injuries.

Dr. Craig Bryan of National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah confirms that talking about about a trauma is how they now tackle PTSD. Experts note that having reactions after an event like this doesn't always mean there is a long term issue.

"Immediately after an event like this it's fairly common for disruption to their sleep, feel a little more anxious and on edge, and this is actually very normal," said Dr. Bryan.

Dr. Bryan said about 85 percent of people can come back to where they were before the event. He notes that PTSD isn't diagnosed until at least 30 days. Experts say there are signs people have which indicate they may need to seek help.

"After about two week if you're still noticing that you're on edge, you're having nightmares, not sleeping well," said Dr. Bryan. "That would be a time to reach out to a healthcare provider."

The program run by Dr. Bryan helps veterans get the right services they need for trauma, and he says there are several options in the area for civilians to get the same help. You can contact the center at 801-587-7978 or email them at NCVS@utah.edu.


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