Feelings of Guilt Increase the Risk of PTSD and Substance Abuse

By Staff Writer

Children who experience a traumatic event are significantly more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when they grow older. This condition increases the risk of drug abuse, and may force individuals to seek substance abuse treatment.

A recent study from University of Granada researchers found that children who blame themselves and their families for the traumatic event are significantly more likely to suffer from PTSD. They are also more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions.

Investigators examined the behavior and mental state of more than 1,500 individuals who had experienced a traumatic event in their lives. Jose Canton Duarte, who led the study, said that the coping skills employed by these individuals plays a major role in their ability to deal with the problem.

Their findings indicate that feelings of guilt are particularly harmful when trying to overcome traumatic events and significantly increase the risk for PTSD and substance abuse.

Duarte said that parents should watch for these symptoms in their children and make treatment options available to them when appropriate.