For Navy Yard victims, healing mental wounds could take time

Relieving the pain of Navy Yard shooting

Paula Wolfson | November 14, 2014 9:05 pm

WASHINGTON – Doctors say the people physically injured at the Navy Yard will recover. But for those who witnessed that traumatic event, there are emotional wounds as well that could take a long time to heal.

Dr. Catherine Crone, vice-chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Inova Fairfax Hospital says this is a tragedy that hits close to home in more ways than one. The federal government and the military have such a big presence in this region, and everyone can identify with those who lived through the nightmare at the Navy Yard.

She says family, friends, co-workers and the community at large need to show their support at this trying time.

“It is important for them to know that people are out there, people are concerned and ready to help,” Crone says.

But she says we need to walk a fine line and realize that some just don’t want to to talk about the ordeal and need time to process what they experienced.

Crone says its possible for people who witness these kinds of traumatic events to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress, but not the full-fledged disorder. She says be on the look-out for changes in behavior and mood, troubled sleep and problems with concentration.

“Sometimes the impact of a traumatic event can take a long time to show up,” Crone says. For those closest to an affected person, she says, be aware, be sensitive and be patient.

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