What's left and unseen after a tragedy such as Las Vegas

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR)-- Some say an event like the Las Vegas massacre can leave us mentally scarred.

"There was blood all over on people's faces," recalls Angela Pflederer, who was at the Jason Aldean concert when the shooting broke out. "There was a girl next to us that was shot in the arm, there was a girl on the ground."

While our loved ones who witnessed the massacre are on their way home, the shooting may still be with them. Dr. Erin Fisher, a professor of psychology at Rock Valley College, says high stress events such as the Vegas shooting sets off chemical reactions that change our normal state of mind.

"I was having anxiety, I was having panic attacks, because I'm seeing people injured," explained Pflederer.

For most of us that will cool down and go away, but while it's there Fisher says it may seem like the memory gets stuck.

"I can hear those booms in my head, the shots being fired," said Pflederer.

But it's not just the people at the concert who are reeling from the trauma. Anyone of us can be impacted by secondary trauma from such an event. Mental health professionals say these reactions following the Las Vegas shooting are normal. It's only if they extend past 6 months that it could be something more serious like post traumatic stress disorder.

"But there are early interventions that we know are likely to lessen the chances that a person will progress to full blown P.T.S.D.," explained Fisher.

Things such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or even just talking to someone about the experience. Fisher says the best thing we can do is to be there for any of our loved ones suffering from the trauma of this event. Don't pry for details, instead just listen and reinforce their feelings as okay.



 
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