Normative Life Events and PTSD in Children: How Easy Stress Can Affect Children’s Brain
Exposure to traumatic events is common in children and adolescent. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an emotional reaction to traumatic events, which is increasingly recognized to be a prevalent and disabling disorder. The aim of this study is to determine the distribution of normative life events which predicts PTSD in youth who referred to an outpatient clinic in Rasht, Iran. This study is a cross-sectional descriptive study. The samples of children and adolescents ranging from 1-18 yr old who were diagnosed PTSD based on DSM-IV criteria in psychiatric interview and K-SADS (Kiddie-schedule for affective disorder and schizophrenia for school age children) semi-structured diagnostic interview, from 2005 until 2008.The information consist of: age, sex, comorbidity with PTSD, events accompanying with PTSD, and time interval between events and visit. Eighty four youth who met the diagnosis of PTSD and their parents participated in the survey. Half of PTSD youth were 6-11 years old and admitted to clinic in the first 3 months after events. The most common events were witnessing violent or fearful scenes on TV followed by witnessing someone's death or funeral ceremony. The most comorbidity with PTSD included: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety. Our results indicate that youth exposure to violent or fearful scenes on TV could be very traumatic for them. Informing parents about the potential effect of low-magnitude stressors such as violent or fearful scenes on TV and funeral ceremony can decrease the prevalence of PTSD in youth.
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