Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children Research Paper

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[. . .] In such cases, the healing process occurs more rapidly and children can pursue their lives without having to travel the dark path towards mental instability. This is why Fazel et al. (2011) have distinguished both risk and protective factors in their review, in which they indicate what can be done for children by high-income countries where these children come to seek asylum.

Basically, the authors have found that one of the most important protective factors is the ability to integrate into the host society while not losing one's sense of cultural identity. As such, supportive measures should be put into place for immigrant children to prevent them becoming a burden by succumbing to mental conditions. Instead, they should be encouraged to PTSD is not an isolated condition, as seen. It affects an individual's life and abilities in the long-term, especially with regard to its effects on the emotional and mental life of the person. There can, however, also be physical effects. Raphael and Widom (2010), for example, found that there is a significant correlation between PTSD diagnosed in childhood and pain symptoms in middle adulthood. This is particularly the case when the child has experienced PTSD as a result of childhood victimization. Indeed, the combination of PTSD and childhood victimization by means of abuse or neglect is statistically linked to most types of pain complaints in adulthood. As such, PTSD has also been found to be a marker for stress vulnerability (Raphael and Widom, 2010).

Another physical consequence of childhood victimization that caused PTSD is elevated rates of the chronic diseases of aging and higher rates of morbidity and mortality of these (Miller, Chen, and Parker, 2011). In addition to children who were maltreated, the poor is also a high-risk population for this eventuality, showing a high vulnerability for vascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and premature mortality.

To explain this, Millder, Chen, and Parker (2011) have created a Biological Embedding Model by combining evidence from both behavioral and biomedical literature. According to the model, childhood stress is, as it were, programmed into the molecular structure of the physical body in the form of macrophages through what the authors refer to as "epigenetic markings, post-translational modifications, and tissue remodeling" (Miller, Chen, and Parker, 2011). Cells are then provided with pro-inflammatory tendencies, which in turn reacts somewhat violently as the person ages and experiences additional stressful events over the life course.

The authors also recognize that there are long-term emotional and mental consequences when a child develops PTSD. These include excessive vigilance for threats, a sense of mistrust when it comes to other people and a consequent poor relationship to others, impaired regulation of self, and life choices that are generally considered unhealthy. These exacerbate physical consequences like altered endocrine and autonomic discharge patterns. All of these effects result in an aggravation of inflammation and the tendency towards chronic disease in later adulthood.

Parents and Children

According to Seng et al. (2011), PTSD in children can be aggravated by parents who suffer from the same condition as a result of factors like war, disaster, or childhood events like abuse and other forms of maltreatment. Women can, for example, suffer from PTSD while pregnant, which has a significant physical effect on their unborn children. Thus, the condition becomes a cycle that no longer affects only the individual or one generation. According to Seng et al. (2011), women with low socio-demographic status and African-American women have a tendency to suffer from more prevalent rates of PTSD during pregnancy.

As mentioned, the consequences of the condition in expectant mothers are dire. Babies born from such mothers suffer the risk of preterm birth and low birthweight, for example. Should the condition persist, mothers risk abusing or neglecting their young children, which in turn increases the child's risk of developing PTSD and the cycle continues.

By investigating this phenomenon in pregnant mothers, the authors have found that the mothers' stress condition has physical effects on their reproductive systems, which in turn affect the ability of their babies to grow and develop in a healthy way and for a sufficient time.

In concluding their work, the authors have recognized that further study is required to account for disparities in the outcomes of birth and their correlation with the socio-economic status of the women involved as opposed to weather they suffer from stress disorders. Furthermore, the importance of suitable health care policies to support mothers with PSTD is emphasized.

Conclusion

PTSD is an unfortunate fact of life for many children. Children are particularly vulnerable because of their fragile state of development, their limited experience, and their limited strength. Very young children are not yet equipped to protect themselves from harsh experiences. In situations where the home life is unstable, these children are at particular risk of developing the condition. Poor households, for example, more often than not face a myriad of social and personal obstacles, one of which may be an abusive climate and/or a sense of social disconnection.

Because children are a vital part of a nation's future capital and success, it is highly important to nurture them in such a way that they can maintain mental and emotional stability. Research and policies are necessary to support children from difficult social, economic, and emotional backgrounds so that they can properly learn, grow, and ultimately become productive members of society.

References

Berkowitz, S.J., Stover, C.S., and Marans, S.R. (2011, Jun.). The Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention: Secondary Prevention for Youth at Risk of Developing PTSD. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines. 52(6). Database: NBCI. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096712/

Fazel, M., Reed, R.V., Panter-Brick, C., and Stein, A. (2011, Aug. 10). Mental health of displaced and refugee children resettled in high-income countries: risk and protective factors. The Lancet. 379. Retrieved from: http://211.144.68.84:9998/91keshi/Public/File/36/379-9812/pdf/1-s2.0-S0140673611600512-main.pdf

Miller, G.E., Chen, E., and Parker, K.J. (2011, Nov.). Psychological Stress in Childhood and Susceptibility to the Chronic Diseases of Aging: Moving towards a model of behavioral and biological mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin. 137(6). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202072/

Odenbach, J., Newton, A., Gokiert, R., Falconer, C., Courchesne, C., Campbell, S., and Curtis, S. (2014). Screening for post-traumatic stress disorder after injury in the pediatric emergency department -- a systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews. 3(19). Database: BioMed Central. Retrieved from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/2046-4053-3-19.pdf

Raphael, K.G. And Widom, C.S. (2010, Nov. 2). Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Moderates the Relation Between Documented Childhood Victimization and Pain 30 Years Later. Pain. 152(1). Database: NCBI. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3053034/

Roberts, A.L., Gilman, S.E., Breslau, J., Breslau, N. And Koenen, K.C. (2011, Jan). Race/ethnic differences in exposure to traumatic events, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment-seeking for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. Psychological Medicine. 41(1). Database: NCBI. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3097040

Seng, J.D., Low, L.K., Sperlich, M., Ronis, D.L., and Liberon, I. (2011, Oct.). Post-traumatic stress disorder, child abuse history, birthweight and gestational age: a prospective cohort study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. 11. Database: Wiley Online Library. Retrieved from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2011.03071.x/full

Whetten, K., Osterman, J., Whetten, R., O'Donnell, K., and Thielman, N. (2011, Apr.). More than the loss of a parent: potentially traumatic events among orphaned and abandoned children. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 24(2). Database: NCBI. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3610328/ [END OF PREVIEW]

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