Survivor’s guilt after Uvalde shooting will be difficult to treat

Why did I survive and my friend didn’t? Why did I have to bury my child instead of my child? Why was my family safe, but my neighbor’s family wasn’t?

Survivor’s guilt or survivor’s shame can add to the shared trauma of an event like the recent school shooting in Uvalde, or a more individualized trauma such as a car accident or a prolonged illness, experts say.

“When we talk about survivor’s guilt, that’s a symptom of PSTD,” said Brent Turnipseed, a psychiatrist and co-founder of Austin-based Roots Behavioral Health. Post-traumatic stress disorder usually emerges several months or longer after a traumatic event, verses acute stress disorder, which is that immediate response.

“PTSD is very difficult to treat,” Turnipseed said.

Following a traumatic event, there can be many different emotions, all of which are normal, said Rakima Parson, a licensed professional counselor with Centered Counseling.

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