San Luis Obispo County

SLO psychiatrist offers helpful advice for survivors of Vegas shooting

SLO Psychiatrist offers helpful...

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - A San Luis Obispo psychiatrist is weighing in with some advice people can use to cope with Sunday night’s deadly shooting in Las Vegas. 

Life after chaos and confusion -- that’s what thousands of people across the country are learning to deal with as they make their way back home from Las Vegas. 

"It is natural that people have reactions that puzzle them, people exposed to this have both emotional and biological responses,” said Dr. Joseph Schwartz, a psychiatrist in San Luis Obispo.

He said it’s important to both take care of yourself and let others help. It will help people process what happened at the Route 91 Music Festival on Sunday.

"Early intervention, early therapy for people having difficulties is helpful in preventing long-term problems,” he added. 

He said it’s common to feel more irritable, distracted and to avoid certain situations.

"The initial response is the sense of detachment, you would hope that subsides over enough time,” he said. 

Dr. Schwartz says acute stress disorders are common after events like this. They don’t predict you’ll suffer from chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD in the long run.

"One thing people are trying to do is make sense of what happened and make sense of themselves, so telling stories, organizing stories in a situation of support is critical,” he added. 

He said not everyone handles these situations the same. Some turn to family and friends to talk about it. 

"Some people when they talk about it they are re-exposed to the things that are trying to deal with,” he said. 

Those who never even attended the concert could feel stress too. Witnessing the shooting on TV or hearing about it can bring up previous memories.

"The first thing to do is, if you have insurance, check the numbers on the back of the card there is usually a number for mental health,” he suggested. 

Dr. Schwartz says it’s also important to get enough sleep. It will help people process their experiences. 

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