A new study published by the Frontiers in Psychiatry and reported by EurekAlert has revealed that children and teenagers exposed to violence from war zones have a wide ranging mental health issue such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depressions and suicide idealization.
The study was conducted in partnership with VIVO International, a mental health organization with support from Windle Trust and the Norwegian Refugees Council. It was conducted by psychologist and psychiatrist from Germany and Uganda. The subjects of the study were in Northern Ugandan that had been war-trodden from the terror of the Lord’s Resistance Army for many years, resulting in huge economic, social and mental health toll on the people there.
The researchers found that there is a high accentuation of mental health issues among the child abductees where the Lord’s Resistance cultist group have a favorite method of abducting children to join their ranks. Many of these children were used as foot soldiers to fight the cult’s spiritual cause and abduct other children themselves.
The mental health experts found that 32% of the abductees and 12% of the teenagers in general have suffered from PTSD, a kind of mental disorder normally suffered by war veterans. They further conclude that depression and suicidal thoughts were also widespread among them.
“The rates of PTSD and depression were highest among former child soldiers. But we also found very high rates in other war-affected youth,” according to the lead researcher, Nina Winkler from the University of Konstanz in Germany.
PTSD is one of the most treatment resistant of all mental health illnesses and it usually stays with the sufferers for life.