The trauma caused by violent protests may be acute, but largely ignored

public protests are a common feature in many countries. People often take to the streets of their cities to make demands. Some protests turn violent. Physical injuries are common. But what about the less obvious emotional consequences, unwanted? Professor of psychiatry Christopher P Szabo explains the trauma that protesters – and even viewers -. They can experience

What does research on the links between the protests and trauma?

There is a significant amount of empirical research data showing the relationship between violent protest and emotional trauma . But Recent research studying protests of Ferguson, Missouri in the US where protesters took to the streets after the State does not charge a white police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, showed that exposure to violence during protests led to high levels of anguish.

The study included both community workers and police and wanted to examine how proximity to community violence would impact on mental health symptoms specifically publish PTSD and depression and anger. Although it seems that community members reported more symptoms than police general conclusion was that exposure to this type of violence led to high levels of distress among those who are directly exposed.

Research suggests that mental health interventions might be necessary for some members of the community who were directly exposed to the violence that occurred.

What are the risks – beyond the physical – for people who are directly involved in the protest actions that turn violent? What kind of trauma that they may experience?

It is possible that people who are involved or directly exposed to violent situations will experience an emotional disorder. In the most vulnerable, such as those with a more anxious disposition, this could lead to them developing the characteristics of a acute stress disorder .

acute stress disorder could arise in response to exposure to a traumatic event such as the threat of violence or real. Usually, the person feels anxious and relives the event through involuntary memories, dreams or memories that are experienced as intrusive and distressing. They can occur in response to reminders of the event. Symptoms may appear after exposure, and if a diagnosis is made, should have existed for at least three days, but did not last more than a month.

Can people who are not directly involved in these protests suffer trauma – through, for example, view or listen to the protests of his friends stories develop

People who are not directly exposed to trauma can still experience “vicarious” traumatization. This has been described in a variety of situations, such as among college students in the wake of September 11 in New York .

Similarly, children who saw space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986 also experienced vicarious traumatization this.

seems that geographical proximity without being exposed may directly influence the emotional state of a person. In addition, the connection to the site of an event as well as the extent of exposure to the media could also have an influence.

How trauma manifested? What signs should be people looking out for themselves and others?

It may manifest as anxiety, along with sleep problems and concentration. It could also affect the daily functions of the person. And it is possible that, for example, avoid the place where the incident occurred.

What should be done to deal with the trauma?

When someone starts to experience these feelings, it is important to share these changes with someone you trust. They should also be open to the possibility of professional help if the changes persist. They should also realize that there are unresolved can be a perfectly normal response. The extent that is not the persistence and impact on the way they function influence the need to seek professional help potentially.

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