Shooting Prompts Discussion About Paranoia - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/20/07

Shooting Prompts Discussion About Paranoia

Nancy Mayer has treated patients with paranoia for the last three years at ETMC's Behavioral Health Center. This is how she describes the disease:

"Are they very difficult to get along with? Are they having trouble relating? Are they having trouble getting close to people?"

Mayer says in the aftermath of this weeks shootings at Virginia Tech, an eye-witness pinpointed another symptom she sees all the time.

"He said that when he, that he came face-to-face with Cho and that he looked in his eyes, and there was just no one there.  It was like he was just empty," says Mayer.

In the letters he mailed to NBC News, Cho said he was inspired by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine shooters.  On the 8th anniversary of that tragedy, many in the mental health field believe they, too, probably suffered from paranoia.

Mayer says it's important to get people help early, and she says that often starts by validating their irrational fears.

"It's important that we somewhat get on their level, if you will; get where they are, and then, just talk to them. You know, 'I know that you feel like someone's really out to get you, and I want you to be safe," says Mayer.

She says with a combination of medicine and therapy, patients with paranoia can go on to live very productive lives.

Lindsay Wilcox, reporting, lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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