It has become a media cliche to compare neighborhoods plagued by gun violence to war zones. The combat metaphors range from children caught in the crossfire to explosions of gang warfare to SWAT-like police teams patrolling the streets. But behind the bleak imagery lies the hidden collateral damage of people’s tender psychological wounds: It’s an epidemic of trauma-related stress in the hospitals, schools and living rooms of these beleaguered communities.
A recent investigation by ProPublica highlights a study of hospital patients in inner-city communities in Atlanta that revealed rates of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) symptoms comparable to those seen in veterans of the Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars. At least 1 in 3 respondents reported that at some point in their lives they had experienced PTSD symptoms — an array of stress responses including flashbacks, persistent feelings of fear or shame, a sense of alienation and aggressive behavior. (The nationwide PTSD rate is about 7 to 8 percent, with generally higher rates among blacks and women.)
(Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Originally from Al Jazeera America