Posts Tagged ‘ post-traumatic stress disorder ’

More Study Needed to Help Kids Cope with Trauma

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Far more data is needed on how best to help children cope with traumatic events–ranging from natural disasters to school shootings to death or family illness–researchers argue in an article published in the journal Pediatrics.  From NBC News:

Grief counselors, therapists and social workers have no body of scientific data to draw from when they seek to help traumatized kids, a team of experts reports in Monday’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.

“People come to me and say ‘What works?’ and I answer, ‘We don’t really know,’” says Valerie Forman-Hoffman of RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., who led the study.

“I don’t think that what this study is saying is that no treatment works,” Forman-Hoffman said in a telephone interview. ”I think that what our review shows is that we don’t have a good evidence base to make good recommendations.”

The need is clear, Forman-Hoffman and her colleagues say.

“Approximately two-thirds of children and adolescents younger than age 18 years will experience at least one traumatic event, creating a critical need to identify effective child trauma interventions,” they wrote. Traumatic events in this study included the death of a parent, a violent incident at school, wars, or natural disasters. They did not include personal events such as abuse by a parent or sexual abuse.

“Although some children exposed to trauma do not experience long-term negative consequences in terms of psychological and social functioning, many later develop traumatic stress syndromes, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),”  they added. PTSD in turn can cause depression, and lead to substance abuse, suicide and behavior disorders.

Image: Girl with grief counselor, via Shutterstock

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Study: Domestic Violence Affects Kids’ Brains Similarly to Military Combat

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

A new study published this week in the journal Current Biology has found that the brains of children who are exposed to domestic violence, either perpetrated against themselves or other family members, are similar to the brains of military veterans who have witnessed traumatic combat situations.  Like soldiers, the study concludes, children who are in violent households are vulnerable to emotional disorders like depression and anxiety later in life.

Specifically, the researchers found that children from abusive families are 50 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and 6 times more likely to commit suicide. Roughly 80 percent go on to repeat the cycle of violence in adulthood.

“This new study, while small in sample size, demonstrates that children exposed to domestic violence may have a heightened neurological reaction to anger expressed by others. This may translate into greater anxiety and mistaken social cues in key social interactions and lead to other longer-term difficulties for children,” Makers of Memories Foundation researcher Jeffrey L Edleson, a Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Social Work and Director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, said in a statement.

Image: Sad young girl, via Shutterstock.

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