Tags: isaac | ptsd | kids | depress

Natural Disasters Cause PTSD in Some Kids

Thursday, 30 August 2012 01:44 PM

As gulf coast residents move to assess the damage from Hurricane Isaac, a new study notes some children who live through natural disasters suffer significant psychological effects – including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression – long after the events have passed.
In a paper published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, University of Miami child psychologists who have been studying children's disaster reactions since the early 1990s report that some show signs of PTSD and depression eight to 15 months afterward – and are at high risk for longer-term adverse reactions.
Such children report more severe levels of psychological symptoms and experience more post-disaster stressors than other youth who recover quickly.
Lead researcher Dr. Annette M. La Greca, a professor of psychology and pediatrics at the University of Miami, said the findings suggest it is important to evaluate children's symptoms of PTSD and depression after a natural disaster. Doing so will not only identify those who may be the most adversely affected and at long-term risk, but also help such children cope with stressors that occur during or after the disaster that may improve their psychological functioning.
"Children may have to move or change schools. Their neighborhood may not be safe for outdoor play and they may not be able to spend time with their friends,” La Greca said. “Children need help coping with these and other post-disaster stressors."
The findings are based on research by La Greca and colleagues following Hurricanes Andrew (1992), Charley (2004) and Ike (2008).
La Greca has developed a workbook for parents to help their children cope after disasters. It offers tips for helping children stay healthy and fit, maintain normal routines, and cope with stressors and emotions, such as fears and worries.
The “After the Storm” workbook is available at no cost at www.7-dippity.com.

© HealthDay

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Some kids who live through natural disasters like Hurricane Isaac suffer PTSD and depression, new research shows.
Thursday, 30 August 2012 01:44 PM
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