Shooting exposure can lead to PTSD in women

New York, Dec 11 (IANS) Witnessing shooting incidents or gang violence can lead post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women, warns a study.

Those with PTSD had more severe depression symptoms than other women in the study who did not exhibit signs of PTSD, said principal investigator Inger Burnett-Zeigler, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, US.

“Even if you do not meet the full criteria for PTSD, you can have enough symptoms to impact your well-being,” Burnett-Zeigler said.

“There is a substantial proportion of people who fall below the PTSD diagnosis line who might be getting lost in the cracks. It’s important for mental health providers to develop a greater awareness around this because untreated PTSD symptoms affect mental health, quality of life and functioning,” Burnett-Zeigler said.

The neighbourhood from which women in the study were recruited ranked 7th for property crime, 26th for quality of life crime and 35th for violent crime among 77 Chicago neighbourhoods.

The traumatic experiences reported in the study were often violent or sexual in nature.

Thirty-six per cent of women in the study had PTSD or sub-threshold PTSD (substantial trauma symptoms that might not have met the full PTSD diagnostic criteria).

A significant percentage of women in a general population who experienced trauma (20 per cent) develop PTSD, Burnett-Zeigler said.

“But the prevalence of PTSD symptoms is particularly acute in impoverished neighbourhoods,” she noted.

The findings were published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

–IANS

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