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Children Susceptible to PTSD Following Injury to Parents

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Jarod Cassidy3 years ago

A new study suggests that children may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after their parents suffer a serious injury.

Children of Injured Parents and PTSD

“If the parent is injured, the child is more likely to have more anxiety in five months.” – psychiatrist Dr. Douglas Zatzick as published by Medscape

According to Medscape, researchers studied 175 families with school-age children seen at a Seattle trauma center.

Their analysis suggested that children whose parents were seriously injured were twice as likely to develop PTSD symptoms over the following months as children whose parents were not seriously injured.

Roughly 20 percent of uninjured children who had parents that suffered serious injury displayed symptoms of PTSD five months later, compared to 10 percent of uninjured children whose parents had not been injured.

The researchers also determined that injured children tend to recover more slowly, both physically and emotionally, if their parents were also injured.

The study is compliments another which found that children of parents who become ill with deseases like HIV and cancer are more at risk of emotional distress, risky sexual behavior and substance abuse.

About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a mental condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.

While symptoms of PTSD often develop within three months of a traumatic event, they can also may not appear until years after the event.

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Recurrent, distressing memories of the event
  • Nightmares
  • Severe anxiety
  • Avoiding places, activities or people linked to the event.
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Depression


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