The challenges of treating PTSD - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

The challenges of treating PTSD

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Wednesday's shooting at Fort Hood opened up old wounds, reminding people about another deadly rampage that happened there back in 2009. It's also raised the same questions.

Why did the suspect, Ivan Lopez, allegedly kill three people, and wound 16 before taking his own life?

Doctor Kathleen Kim is the deputy chief of staff at VA San Diego. Between 2004 and 2013, the hospital treated nearly 18,000 veterans for PTSD, and more than 7,200 in fiscal year 2014.

"There are both talk therapies that have been proven to be quite good and medications, so someone may come in and need a combination of those things," Kim said.

While Lopez had not been diagnosed with PTSD, military officials confirm he was undergoing diagnosis procedures. They also say the experienced soldier -- who was never injured in combat -- was grappling with depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders for which he was taking antidepressants.

Kim says treatment for PTSD is both voluntary and intense.

"It's very intensive. You have to come once a week for an hour, hour and a half for up to 16 weeks," she said.

How long Lopez had been seeking treatment still has not been released. And while many want to know if this shooting could have been prevented, Dr. Kim warns the public should not rush to judge, saying research is evolving and that most people with PTSD and other stress ailments aren't violent.

"The majority of these people want to get help, are in treatment, they're not like this gentleman," Kim said.

Kim does admit we need to do a better job at not only treating PTSD, but preventing it in the first place. That research is underway.

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