Monday, December 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Iraq vet was to be checked for PTSD

Ivan Lopez

This undated image provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Army Spc. Ivan Lopez. Authorities said Lopez killed three people and wounded 16 others in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, before killing himself. Investigators believe his unstable mental health contributed to the rampage. (AP Photo/Texas Department of Public Safety)

SAN ANTONIO — The day after the Fort Hood shootings, officials said the gunman, Iraq war vet Spc. Ivan Lopez, was to undergo analysis for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Once called “shell shock” or “combat fatigue,” PTSD is estimated to affect up to 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, studies show. It can arise when someone experiences a life-threatening trauma or witnesses those around him undergoing such a threat, experts said.

While symptoms of PTSD can include thoughts of harming oneself or others, the diagnosis doesn’t automatically imply the sufferer is prone to violence, said Dr. Emma Mata-Galan, program manager of mental health outpatient services at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System

“When we speak of PTSD, we have to be sure not to make general assumptions,” she said. “PTSD does not automatically equate to violence. Anyone can have the disorder — children, women, the elderly.”

Other symptoms of PTSD include recurring nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, insomnia and “hyper-arousal,” such as feeling constantly on edge. The condition is diagnosed by assessing a veteran’s exposure to trauma and his or her symptoms, Mata-Galan said.

“They would have to persist over three months for a diagnosis of PTSD,” she said. “It’s not difficult to detect with the tools we have today.”

In the wake of the Fort Hood tragedy, critics are pointing fingers at what they contend is a negligent mental health care system at the post. They say soldiers with PTSD and other medical issues are routinely redeployed against doctors’ orders.

Lopez was being evaluated for PTSD at the time of the shooting, but no diagnosis had been made, Army officials said. He wasn’t wounded during his four-month deployment to Iraq, but “self-reported” a traumatic brain injury when he returned, they said.

Within the past month, Lopez had been examined by a psychiatrist, who determined he showed no signs of becoming violent. The plan was to “continue monitoring” him, officials said.

At the time of the shooting, Lopez had been prescribed Ambien, a sleep aid, and medications for anxiety and depression.

People suffering with PTSD may self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, experts said. They may withdraw from family and friends and avoid situations or places that remind them of the earlier trauma.

A rise in PTSD diagnoses in recent years could be the result of the nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or it could be that doctors now have better tools to detect it, Mata-Galan said.

Prior exposure to trauma, such as child abuse, can increase a person’s chances of developing PTSD, she added.

PTSD is not limited to those on the battle field: Each year, around 7 percent to 8 percent of the general population will be diagnosed with the disorder, studies show.

Locally, the military has enabled veterans to get help for PTSD and other emotional or behavioral issues earlier by blending mental health care into the primary care system, such as placing psychologists’ offices next to primary care doctors, Mata-Galan said.

At the Frank M. Tejeda VA Outpatient Clinic, as well as at clinics around the city, cutting edge treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and prolonged exposure therapy is helping veterans overcome PTSD.

“We’re finding very good results,” she said.

Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Christmas comes early to San Marco Street park

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Travis squadron delivers Christmas gifts to East Tabor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Multiple car accident blocks I-80 in Vacaville

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
Last-minute shopping at Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

Kitchen fire dislocates family for Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Famous Creations’ toy drive and cupcake sale

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Timeline of events before and after NY cop deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

A look at the 2 NYC officers killed in ambush

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Exit poll: Ex-regime official is Tunisia’s new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Pakistan makes arrests in Taliban school carnage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Satanic Temple puts up display at Michigan Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

Australian woman charged with murder of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Opinion

Faust and the 2015 federal budget

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 15 Comments

 
Obama, surgeon general still losing to NRA

By Francis Wilkinson | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Let the music begin

By Colleen Britton | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Today in History: Dec. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
‘Hobbit’ goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Good news from Tom Brokaw: His cancer is in remission

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Review: ‘The Interview’ deserves to be seen

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B7

Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
TVGrid Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Steelers, Packers win, move into playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders knock Bills out of playoffs with 26-24 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings snap 5-game losing skid, beat Lakers 108-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Burns gives Sharks late-night win over Blues in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

The Week Ahead: Not much of a break for Christmas

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Super-G crash makes Vonn wait in bid for record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL Roundup: Cowboys end 4-year drought, make playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
7 hurt when lightning strikes near Tampa Bay game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

India’s Arjun Atwal wins Dubai Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Documents: FSU QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Survey: US gas prices fall 25 cents per gallon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

B.C. Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Bridge Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7