Research Study: Community Violence May Lead To PTSD In Children

Mummy will make it better
Creative Commons License photo credit: gemsling

Article Highlights:

  • Children exposed to community violence were found to have high levels of stress hormones.
  • The development of PTSD in children can lead to emotional and behavioral problems.
  • Study calls for more investigations into the link between exposure to violence and increased stress in children.

To read the full article click on the image above.

What is PTSD?

towards the lightPTSD is an acronym for Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you are reading this post then you probably already know this, but clarification is always good. The name of this mental condition pretty much says it all – it is acute stress after something terrible has occurred and causes the sufferer to relive or maladjust to the terrible event. In other words, something really jacked up happened and you can’t get over it. But it’s more than that, it causes symptoms that range from frightening thoughts and nightmares to feeling emotionally numb and becoming afraid of crowded places.

The symptoms don’t stop there, you can have flashbacks, be easily startled, have irritability and so on. There are a lot of ways that PTSD can manifest itself in you and it is all rooted in single or prolonged traumatic event. It can develop after being raped, mugged, or in many cases after returning home from a combat zone. Many soldiers have developed PTSD after coming home and have a difficult time adjusting to their old surroundings.

PTSD is lumped together with anxiety disorders not just because it can cause anxiety, but because like anxiety disorder it is rooted in prolonged and acute levels of stress. Your ‘nerves’ are shot and you feel uneasy. You find it difficult to relax and keep a clear mind. This is exactly what anxiety sufferers endure all the time. It is a seemingly never ending barrage of tense brooding and confusion. It keeps you in a mental fog that just doesn’t lift. You lose interest in other people and become distant. Everything becomes about you and how you feel. You find it very difficult to connect with other people and feel that others just don’t understand.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health you are not alone because there are over 7.7 million Americans with PTSD. Many of them developed PTSD within the first 3 months of the traumatic event and will experience symptoms for only a few months, while there are others that will endure PTSD for many years. So how do all these people get help? Like general anxiety disorder, PTSD can be treated with drugs and psychotherapy. I support the latter fully, but I am weary of the medication. I always say that meds are a valid way to reach recovery, but I also promote natural ways of healing. Any dependence on chemical substances is bad news, but always talk to your doctor about how the meds work and about the possible side effects.

No matter how you decide to treat your PTSD remember that it takes time to heal anything, whether it’s a broken leg or your mind. The mind can be wounded and it can be healed with care and time. All high levels of stress are difficult to deal with (ever seen a panther in a cage?) it causes strange thoughts and feelings, but it’s not forever that you’ll have this. As always, I encourage Acceptance, Letting go, Patience, Exercise and a healthy diet. Stick to this track and you will feel better soon. It is easy to despair, but even in the face of such dogged and constant stress and anxiety you have to hang in there. Because when you quit, it’s not just you that is affected. Think about those you love and make a genuine effort to be there.

In addition, don’t get stuck in the perils of your mind. Don’t dwell on things you can’t change – it ain’t your fault that this happened and you should not feel guilt or shame. Your life is too short to lose any of it on past events. You simply cannot recapture and change what happened. Bury it and move on with your life. You will never forget, but you can physically and mentally move on. Do what you can to look on the brighter side of everything and accept yourself the way you are fully – you will heal.