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Victims Of Child Abuse Who Blame Themselves And Their Families For Their Situation Present Higher Rates Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Article Date: 28 Oct 2010 – 2:00 PDT

This is one of the conclusions drawn from a study conducted by the University of Granada, where 1,500 university students participated. This study proved that long-term psychological adjustment of victims of sexual abuse in the childhood significantly depends on some cognitive factors and on their interaction.

In cases of child sexual abuse, there are children and teenagers that blame themselves (for example, after the thought that the abuse was led by them) or their family (thinking that their family should have protected them) for the abuse suffered in their childhood. This type of victims resort more frequently to avoidance coping. Thus, they try to sleep more than usual, avoid thinking on the problem, or resort to alcohol and drug abuse in the case of teenagers. This behaviour leaves important psychological after-effects on victims: concretely, they present more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

These are some of the conclusions drawn from a research conducted by David Cantón Cortés, at the Department of Evolutionary and Educational Psychology of the University of Granada, and led by professors Fernando Justicia Justicia and José Cantón Duarte. In their study developed in collaboration with the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), they analyzed how different cognitive variables affect the development of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. To such purpose, a sample of victims of child sexual abuse was used.

Concretely, the researchers analyzed the moderating role of coping strategies, the impact of the sense of guilt and of blaming others, and the feelings triggered by sexual abuse. This research proved that long-term psychological adjustment of victims of child sexual abuse greatly depends on some cognitive factors, and on their interaction. Further, this study helped to determine under what circumstances (associated to situations of sexual abuse) these cognitive factors have higher impact.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/205977.php

Teaching Kids To Work Through Trauma

Article Date: 25 Oct 2010 – 0:00 PDT

A child who grows up in the midst of political conflict, such as war or terrorism, can exhibit severe emotional scars. But certain qualities, which psychologists call “resilience factors,” can help overcome this adversity.

Prof. Michelle Slone of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Psychology has now developed a program to help children develop these resilience factors and avoid the psychological disabilities that may arise from stress. Her method – and her inspiring results – were recently described in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and International Journal of Behavioral Development.

A lesson plan for resilience

Because children are surprisingly resilient, if given the proper tools, they can move past traumatic experiences more easily than adults.

Prof. Slone studied children who underwent daily rocket attacks from Gaza or other forms of political violence. She compared children who appeared more well-adjusted to those who exhibited more severe psychological trauma, and determined which qualities made the difference. With the results of this research, she developed a series of workshops to enhance those elements that helped children deal with the stress of conflict.

After the workshops, children who attended were better able to stand up in front of their peers and candidly discuss their anxieties about the conflict they experienced, engaging with the group to form strategies for dealing with problems that arose. This exercise dramatically improved their psychological healing process, she says.

A four-fold approach

For her workshops, Prof. Slone identified four of the most important resilience factors: mobilizing appropriate support; attributing meaning to the traumatic experience; developing self-efficacy and problem-solving skills; and improving self-esteem. Next, she developed a school-based intervention program to help students develop and utilize the desired qualities. She and her fellow researchers created a workbook for each factor, she explains, and held training sessions with teachers. Through a four-to-six week workshop process, the children were led through a variety of activities designed to improve each quality. 

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/205501.php

First Major Study Of Mental Health Of UK Armed Forces In Iraq

Article Date: 31 Oct 2010 – 0:00 PDT

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London have carried out the first major study of the mental health of UK armed forces while they are on deployment. Their findings are published in the November issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Professor Neil Greenberg and colleagues from the Academic Centre for Defence Mental Health conducted the study in Iraq in January and February 2009. 611 armed forces personnel, who were based in eight locations across Iraq, completed a questionnaire about their deployment experiences and health. This number represents about 15% of the UK personnel deployed in Iraq at the time.

The majority of the personnel (92.6%) rated their overall health as good, very good or excellent. Personnel were more likely to report good health if they were of officer rank, if they felt their unit was very cohesive and had supportive leadership, and if they had taken a period of rest and recuperation in an area outside the operational theatre.

Of the 611 personnel, 20.5% showed signs of experiencing symptoms of psychological distress and 3.4% had probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These rates are similar to those that have been found among service personnel who are not on deployment. They are also lower than in other high-stress occupations such as police officers, doctors in emergency departments and disaster workers.

The researchers found that psychological distress was more common among personnel who were young, female, in the army, and of junior rank. PTSD was more common among personnel of junior rank, among those who reported feeling in danger of being killed, and who had higher combat exposure. Personnel who reported sick for any reason during their deployment were also more likely to have symptoms of psychological distress.

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206195.php

 

An uneven distribution of traumatised soldiers

A brief insight into why US troops returning from the same war zones as UK troops show four times the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder – taken from a recent Military Medicine article on mental health treatment in the British armed forces.

The prevalence of PTSD among U.S. forces returning from Iraq has approached 20% of combat personnel. This is in contrast to U.K. forces, which have reported approximately 5% using the same screening tools. There are differences between the forces deployed, some of which may explain the differences in mental health outcomes: U.S. troops are younger, less experienced, deploy for longer tours, and are more likely to be reservists than U.K. forces, all of which are independent risk factors for the development of symptoms of PTSD. A further explanation is that the higher levels of reporting may reflect societal and cultural factors not necessarily associated with deployment.

‘Societal and cultural factors’, of course, could mean anything from the British ‘stiff upper lip’ approach to dealing with mental distress to the system of support and compensation for US troops which has been noted not to encourage improvement as well as it might.

However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that part of the difference may be due to the experiences of the troops, and as far as I know, there is no research that has looked at whether your average US soldier in Iraq simply deals with more potentially traumatising events – combat, injured civilians, bombings and so on.

Read in Full(Includes pdf Link): http://mindhacks.com/2010/10/28/the-prevalence-of-ptsd-among-u-s-forces-returning-from-iraq-has-approached-20-of-combat-personnel-4647-this-is-in-contrast-to-u-k-forces-which-have-reported-approximately-5-using-the-same-screenin/

 

Military Mental Health: There’s an App (and Money) For That

By John M Grohol PsyD

Two good pieces of good news came out of the military this week — especially for soldiers and veterans who are facing mental health concerns.

The first is the Monday announcement by Pentagon officials of a free smart phone application for Android devices designed to help soldiers and veterans to track their emotional health. It’s called the T2 Mood Tracker (from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology) is available free free download now. (The iPhone app is in the works.)

It’s basically a mood tracker, allowing users to track their mood, happiness and stress levels throughout the day. Anyone can download and use the app, free of charge.

The second piece of good news is the announcement that the U.S. Army will spend $17 million over 3 years to study suicide in solders and vets.

The money will be used to fund a new program called the Military Suicide Research Consortium. The hope is that the researchers will be able to better identify the risks and ways of better addressing the rising suicide rates in the U.S. military.

“In the civilian world, we know a bit about what measures do a good job of identifying at-risk individuals. We don’t know that for active duty military,” VA researcher Peter Gutierrez told KUNC radio. Gutierrez will be the co-director of the new Consortium at the Denver VA Medical Center.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/10/28/military-mental-health-theres-an-app-and-money-for-that/

New Findings on PTSD and Brain Activity

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 1, 2010

Researchers have discovered a correlation between increased activity among brain circuits and flashbacks among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

University of Minnesota investigators learned that an increased circuit activity in the right side of the brain is associated with the debilitating, involuntary flashbacks that often characterized PTSD.

The ability to objectively diagnose PTSD through concrete evidence of neural activity, its impact and its manifestation is the first step toward effectively helping those afflicted with this severe anxiety disorder.

PTSD often stems from war, but also can be a result of exposure to any psychologically traumatic event. The disorder can manifest itself in flashbacks, recurring nightmares, anger or hypervigilance.

Using a technique called Magnetoencephalography (MEG), a noninvasive measurement of magnetic fields in the brain, researchers found differences between signals in the temporal and parieto-occipital right hemispheric areas of the brain among those with PTSD.

The temporal cortex, in accordance with earlier findings on the effects of its electrical stimulation during brain surgery, is thought to be responsible for the reliving of past experiences.

The research – led by Apostolos Georgopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., and Brian Engdahl, Ph.D., both members of the Brain Sciences Center at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and University of Minnesota — is published today in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/11/01/new-findings-on-ptsd-and-brain-activity/20338.html

 



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