February 11, 2013

How to heal trauma? Too few answers, still

A government-funded analysis found that when it comes to trauma ranging from abuse at home to school shootings, scientific evidence on how to help children heal without long-term consequences is grossly lacking.

School-based counseling treatments showed the most promise, the Associated Press reported, citing the report from which results were published by the journal Pediatrics online Monday. Information on pharmaceuticals and other efforts at recovery will require much more pointed research into the matter.

The authors reviewed 25 studies in the report sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The outcome doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't treatments to help traumatized children, but rather a lack of insight on how to do so.

“Our findings serve as a call to action,” the researchers wrote.

About two-thirds of U.S. children and teens younger than 18 will experience at least one traumatic event, ranging from shootings and other violence, to car crashes and weather disasters. That includes survivors and witnesses of trauma.

Most will not suffer any long-term psychological problems, but about 13 percent will develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including anxiety, behavior difficulties and other problems.

This is a very important topic, just in light of recent events,” said lead author Valerie Forman-Hoffman, a researcher at RTI International, a North Carolina-based nonprofit research group.



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