Children of injured parents are susceptible to PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is an invisible illness that affects people of all age groups after a period of intense stress. Seattle Trauma Center arranged for a research to be conducted to study the effects the injuries of parents have on their children. The results revealed that children whose parents are severely injured in an accident or in a war are more susceptible to exhibit PTSD symptoms after a period of 5 months.
“If the parent is injured, the child is more likely to have more anxiety in five months,” said psychiatrist Dr. Douglas Zatzick.
“We hope to incorporate psychological support services that allow us to anticipate the difficulties that families face in the wake of injury.”
In about 175 pairs of parents and children, about 20 percent of the children were uninjured while the parents were injured and most of them were caused in a motor accident. In other cases, the injury was due to a burn or fall.
It was also revealed that if the children are also injured in the accident, they recover slower than if the parents are not injured. 10 percent of uninjured children also exhibited PTSD symptoms when the parents were unhurt. In cases that do not involve an accident, the parents’ terminal illnesses such as HIV or cancer triggered PTSD symptoms in children as they are prone to an equal amount of emotional distress as a result of the sudden change.
Another study at the same institute revealed that children whose mothers have PTSD are more susceptible to develop the same symptoms.
PTSD is more common among families in which one or both parents are civilians. Researcher Nancy Kassam-Adams said that physicians who attend to the injured parents should help families cope better which could significantly reduce such illnesses among children.