Helping people find healing from multiple
PTSD IN THE INNER-CITY
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a
traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you
see, hear about, or that happens to you, like:
Child sexual or physical abuse
Sexual or physical assault
Serious accidents, like a car wreck
Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake
WHAT IS PTSD?
1. Military Vets – 1 in 4 Homeless men over 40 are Vets.
2. Homeless People in General (exposure to the elements, violence, lack of
food, and unsafe sexual activity.
3. People that work/live in high crime areas
4. Law Enforcement personnel and First Responders
5. People in Nursing Homes and Mental Health facilities.
PEOPLE THAT CAN SUFFER FROM
Most people who go through a trauma have some symptoms at the beginning.
Only some will develop PTSD over time. It isn't clear why some people
develop PTSD and others don't.
Whether or not you get PTSD depends on many things:
How intense the trauma was or how long it lasted
If you were injured or lost someone important to you
How close you were to the event
How strong your reaction was
How much you felt in control of events
How much help and support you got after the event
HOW DOES PTSD DEVELOP?
Community violence includes many events. It might be a stranger using
physical threat or direct violence to take something or hurt someone. It can
also be violence between family members, close partners, or peers. These
events may include cruel acts such as being shot, raped, stabbed, or beaten.
Most of the attention from media and research is on community violence that
involves adults. However, many children and teens face violence in their
neighborhoods and schools. Such violence can have effects on children.
THE EFFECT ON THE YOUTH
Many people think that community violence only happens in gangs and inner
cities. It is true that people who are poor, non-White, and living in crowded
inner-city areas deal with a lot of violence. Community violence also occurs,
though, in White, middle-class areas, both suburban and rural. All kinds of
youth are at risk for community violence.
Over one-third of girls and boys across the country ages 10 to 16 years are
victims of direct violence. Direct violence includes attempted kidnapping,
physical and sexual assault. Even more children have faced indirect community
violence. That is, they have seen violence or they know a victim of community
WHAT CHILDREN HAVE TO FACE
Children can have PTSD too. They may have symptoms described above or
other symptoms depending on how old they are. As children get older, their
symptoms are more like those of adults. Here are some examples of PTSD
symptoms in children:
Children age birth to 5 may get upset if their parents are not close by, have
trouble sleeping, or suddenly have trouble with toilet training or going to the
Children age 6 to 11 may act out the trauma through play, drawings, or stories.
Some have nightmares or become more irritable or aggressive. They may also
want to avoid school or have trouble with schoolwork or friends.
Children age 12 to 18 have symptoms more similar to adults: depression,
anxiety, withdrawal, or reckless behavior like substance abuse or running away.
MORE ON CHILDREN
Sadly, there is no way to make sure your child does not face community
violence. However, we do know some of the factors that add to a child's risk
for coming into contact with community violence:
Living in poor, inner-city areas.
Being in a gang or using alcohol or drugs.
Living in a home with domestic (family) violence.
Males see more community violence than do females and are at more risk for
Females are at more risk for sexual assault.
WHO IS AT RISK?
If hurt by violence, a child may have to cope with physical or medical
problems. A child may also have mental health problems, including PTSD.
Some people think that young children are not harmed by community violence
because they are too young to understand or remember. However, studies have
found signs of PTSD in babies and young children.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS?
A child's exposure to community violence affects the whole family. Parents are
often very worried about their child's health and well-being. If resources and
help are limited, parents can become angry. As a parent, you might blame
yourself for not being able to keep your child safe. You may even become too
protective. Parents sometimes use harsh discipline when the child acts out,
even though the child's behavior is related to a trauma. Relations among
family members can become strained. Parents are trying to comfort their child
while at the same time trying to handle their own fears. This is hard, even
more so if they live in an area where violence is common.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS? CONT.
Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms)
You may have bad memories or nightmares. You even may feel like you're going
through the event again. This is called a flashback.
Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic
event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.
You may find it hard to express your feelings. Or, you may not be interested in
activities you used to enjoy. This is another way to avoid memories.
Feeling keyed up (also called hyper arousal)
You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. This is known as
SYMPTOMS OF PTSD
Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist. There are
different types of psychotherapy:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for
PTSD. There are different types of CBT. such as cognitive therapy and
One type is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to understand
how trauma changed your thoughts and feelings.
Another type is Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy where you talk about your trauma
repeatedly until memories are no longer upsetting. You also go to places that are safe, but
that you have been staying away from because they are related to the trauma.
A similar kind of therapy is called eye movement desensitization and
reprocessing (EMDR). This therapy involves focusing on sounds or hand
movements while you talk about the trauma.
HOW DO WE TREAT PTSD?
Medications for PTSD
Medications can be effective too. A type of drug known as a selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is also used for depression, is
effective for PTSD. Another medication called Prazosin has been found to be
helpful in decreasing nightmares related to the trauma.
IMPORTANT: Benzodiazepines and atypical antipsychotics should generally
be avoided for PTSD treatment because they do not treat the core PTSD
Meditation is a form of stress management that will allow our mind to
experience an oasis of peace and love within our heart and mind. Meditation
gave me back control over my life so that no matter what was happening
externally whether it was positive or negative I could still develop control over
my thoughts and thus control the emotions and feeling in my mind. NO one
can control eradicate adversity in life but you can master the way you respond
in regards to your thinking processes. Take control now master your mind
through one of many meditation techniques and you will forever be able to be
the peaceful beacon in the eye of the storm of any adversity.
PRAYER AND MEDITATION
Listening to music does wonders to alleviate stress. Please note that everyone
has different tastes in music. Listen to the music that you feel comfortable.
Sitting down and forcing yourself to listen to relaxation music that you don't
like may create stress, not alleviate it.
Music has always been a great healer. In the Bible, we learn about how David
played the harp to help ease his severe depression of King Saul .
Music is a significant mood-changer and reliever of stress, working on many
levels at once.