Mental health experts: Do yourself a favor and turn off the TV

Here’s an article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch that delves into the effect of television’s penchant for showing acts of violence and terrorism over and over continually on our 24 hour news channels on children and even on some adults.  Mental health experts point out that PTSD is a real illness and continues to be an issue for those who have been physically or emotionally traumatized.

Our children watch an act of violence every few minutes on our television sets and computers thanks to smart phone videos that capture shootings, acts of vandalism, the effects of nature such as floods and hurricanes, the devastation of fires burning millions of acres of our land.  This has to be an issue for developing minds.

Please read this article and see if you agree with the mental health experts.


Mental health experts: Do yourself a favor and turn off the TV

The tower swallowed an airplane full of people.

Smoke billowed. Bodies fell like graham cracker crumbs from a gaping mouth.

As thousands of people turned toward the horror in the sky above them and millions more watched on television, the searing images incited in us a natural response to trauma that lingers 15 years after the attacks – particularly for those who were physically or emotionally close to Ground Zero.

“Nine-eleven created the national sense of horror and vulnerability – a sense that no matter who we are or where we are that we have risk,” said Dr. Joel Silverman, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University. “We tend to be looking for danger more than we did before we were hit.”

Each year on the anniversary of the terror attacks, we are bombarded by – and perhaps even drawn to – 24-hour cable news channels that replay images of planes hitting the towers and panicked people running for their lives through the streets of the nation’s largest city.

But watching the videos over and over makes it harder to recover from the trauma – especially for children, Silverman said.

The nation’s fragmented mental health systems were underfunded and overburdened before 9/11, but the attacks increased pressure on providers to help people in need, he said.

Trauma is cumulative, so events like 9/11 can reignite feelings of anxiety and vulnerability for people who have lived through acutely stressful situations – those who endured sexual or physical abuse or war veterans, for example, Silverman said.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disease that develops in 30 to 40 percent of people who live through traumatic situations. Who recovers faster and who is likely to develop PTSD depends on several factors, Silverman said:

• the prior experiences a person has endured.

• their genetic resilience (some humans are more biologically capable of handling stress than others).

• the strength of a person’s social support system.

• the person’s willingness to seek treatment from a professional if it is needed…(read the entire article here)

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