Columbus psychiatrist talks mental health after Fort Hood shooting

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The most recent Fort Hood shooting by former soldier Ivan Lopez left four people dead and 16 others injured.

And the looming question is, why?

Reports have surfaced that Lopez suffered from mental issues and was being evaluated for possible post-traumatic stress disorder.

News Leader 9's Tyrone McCoy sat down with a local psychiatrist for a glimpse into the science behind PTSD and other mental health disorders.

Dr. Kazaid Shroff, a psychiatrist in Columbus, says possible post-traumatic stress disorder was first known as shock syndrome named for soldiers who experienced traumatic war experiences in the past, but has since evolved to any life-changing trauma.

Dr. Shroff says the importance of diagnosing and treating the disorder is paramount.

"When a tragedy like this happens, there's no one answer. It's always a multitude of factors," he explains.

Lopez spent four months in Iraq, where reports say he did not see combat and military officials were evaluating his mental stability. Dr. Shroff says Lopez's mental state may or may not have played a role in his violent actions on Wednesday.

"For one person to take other people's lives requires a certain level of pathology or illness or sickness that is not measured just by mental health," says Dr. Shroff.

He tells us, there are three warning signs that a person is suffering from PTSD.

"You need to have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. You need to have re-experiencing symptoms. You need to have a different level of alertness," Dr. Shroff outlines.

While it is unclear whether the alleged Fort Hood shooter was experiencing any of this, post officials have said that Lopez was undergoing behavioral health, psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety and a variety of other psychological and psychiatric issues.

Dr. Shroff says this highlights the importance of soldiers to lifting the veil of silence on mental health issues to help remove its ugly stigma. He feels that Fort Benning does a good job of this.

"The military establishment, if you may, is trying it's best to accommodate soldiers coming back from war torn areas and they're doing what they can," he adds.

We have reached out to Fort Benning for a list of the programs to address and treat mental health issues and are still working to get that list.

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