Does violence on the news affect our stress and anxiety levels?

Posted on May 16, 2015

Photo: flickr

A study found that viewing violent news events could lead to symptoms that are related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study found that nearly one out of four of the participants had PTSD-like symptoms from exposure to 9/11 or suicide bombings or other violent events on the media.

There seems to be a greater chance of having subsequent trauma when the individual tends to view the events more. Dr Pam Ramsden suggest that the negative effects of exposure to other’s suffering have been recognised in the other fields like police, professional healthcare workers where they would have to be exposed to violence events. This situation is known as vicarious traumatisation or learning, where negative psychological reactions are resulted from indirect exposure to traumatised people.

Social media does not censor every single thing we posted online. This allows violent stories and graphic images to be watched by the public in unedited horrific detail and it is instantaneously watched by people across the globe. The anguish of the victim, we could feel it, through watching these events.
However, it does not extend to just experiencing those emotions at the moment.
Some individuals might experience longer lasting effects like stress and anxiety, with PTSD being on the more severe aspect of the spectrum.

Thus, it is possible for individuals to experience symptoms of PTSD without real-life exposure to trauma.
We need to raise awareness of this as social media is an integrated part of most lives.

Category(s):Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from PsyBlog

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