Tragedy and child trauma

Tragedy and child trauma is a topic I’ve had too many occasions to write about lately. I’ve modified this post and reposted it in respect for the sorrow and death that occurred in Texas on 11/5 caused by an ex military person with a history of domestic violence in the hope that it may help children. Talking about traumatic events can help children and adults work through the pain or fear of a memory and in the process move the memory from a more emotional short term storage area of the brain into a less emotionally triggering long term area of the memory.

The number of deaths and injuries that occurred is devastating, heart-breaking, and my thoughts & prayers are with the families and also anger at the injustice of a random act of violence disrupting and ending so many lives. Calls for more stringent gun control and gun safety classes may make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to have guns while criminals would likely still have a black market for them but the graph in this link suggests it would help: https://twitter.com/JustinWolfers/status/927866872401416192

The shooter wouldn’t have been able to legally obtain a gun if his history of domestic violence had been properly reported to the current system however, and the shooter was stopped by an NRA member who was nearby and was called for help by a witness. http://www.bizpacreview.com/2017/11/06/nra-member-involved-shooting-took-shooter-558745

This link includes many statistics and a variety of ways that gun safety might be increased without necessarily taking away the right to own guns. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/06/opinion/how-to-reduce-shootings.html?smid=tw-share

The current administration recently made it easier for people with mental illness to obtain guns legally, https://twitter.com/TODAYshow/status/927509432015171585

However most mental illness doesn’t increase risk of mass violence. A history of child trauma or domestic violence is linked to it. And copying previous acts of violence is also a risk. This comment sums it up https://twitter.com/bpshow/status/927872165717962752

Men and society support of kindness might help. Research suggests testosterone may have a role to play in men copying good or bad behavior. Testosterone in men can lead to trying to be better, bigger, faster, more whatever – the crowd of other men seem to approve. More positive acts being approved leads to more better, bigger, faster, etc positive acts and when negative honor killings or other negative treatment of people, women or children seem to be supported then that may lead to more extreme negative acts. (p106-107, Sapolsky) Men and women, boys and girls can help promote safety by not supporting violence or harassment of women and girls or other minority groups or poor people. We as a group also tend to like to feel superior to someone when in reality we are all just a brief moment in geologic time. the planet has had many long phases without humans and may yet again if we don’t start working towards a more sustainable way of using our planet’s limited supply of resources.

We all have quirks and good days and bad days but not like the shooter in Texas. Most of us are caring and can control ourselves or punch a pillow if we’re angry. The common theme of random mass violence is a male with a history of domestic violence or who experienced child trauma and who may be a binge drinker. From a previous post: Regarding potential underlying reasons for a person to resort to mass violence – typically it isn’t due to “mentally ill” people unless they were already prone to violence. An increased risk for violence is not associated with depression, anxiety or ADHD. Increased risk for mass violence is significantly associated though with being a male who had experienced child trauma and who is a binge drinker.  (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318286/ )

So addressing poverty and binge drinking would likely help more than focusing just on gun control methods, 50% of children live in poverty, which is associated with stress for the household.

Until we change our approach to equality in general and regarding gender relations we may not achieve the peace that I knew as a child.  It can help children and survivors to talk about their experience or fears, otherwise there can be a risk of PTSD, an over active fear response which can worsen with repeated trauma.

From a previous post: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur in observers of trauma even if they weren’t harmed. There are many helpful articles available on the topic: (Talking about trauma may help prevent PTSD)

Some other tips for helping reduce symptoms of PTSD https://www.organicfacts.net/post-traumatic-stress.html

More information about early childhood and developing trust through secure attachment parenting styles is available on my new website, in the section Trust is Learned Early.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

 

What is racist is unfair housing and food policies

Additional note – 11/1/17 – it was brought to my attention that at least one person thought I was trying to redefine “racism” by bringing up economic differences and there was a suggestion to check the dictionary instead. that person may not have checked the dictionary however because the definition at dictionary.com includes national policy that discriminates against some racial groups at the benefit of other groups as part of the definition of racism. Hatred for a racial group and stereotyping expectations about all members of a group based on a certain expected ‘profile’ or stereotype of one type of person with the belief that it makes one group inferior and the other superior with a right to dominant over the alleged inferior group is also included in the definition. See “racism:” http://www.dictionary.com/browse/racism

Wealth inequality with differences between racial groups is real and has gotten worse over the last few years or decades. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/12/racial-wealth-gaps-great-recession/

While personal interviews suggest that people from African American or Hispanic groups feel they do have more opportunities to improve their economic future than their parents had, the actual economic differences on average between ethnic groups in the U.S. are very wide. People of white ethnic groups who were interviewed reported feeling they had less opportunity to improve their economic future than their parents. Looking at the numbers might make it clear where the true difference lies – how well off the different sets of parents were at is significant. A young adult of white ethnic groups would have as an average goal to achieve greater than $134,320 Median Household Wealth (I never achieved that myself,  so it is a very large average to try to meet let alone surpass for the average young adult just starting their career). A young adult of African American background would be trying to achieve greater than $11,030 Median Household Wealth and a young adult of Hispanic background would be trying to achieve greater than $13,730. Median Household Wealth represents not the household salary but the balance of income and savings to total debt load.  http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/24/news/economy/blacks-whites-inequality/index.html

For comparison purposes the U.S. poverty guidelines for 2017 are:

~~~~ original beginning:

Chronic illness tends to be more of a risk for people living in low income areas which tend to be located near industry or agricultural areas. And our food supply also tends to harm those with less money as processed inexpensive food may be more available in low income and some urban areas than healthier fresh fruits and vegetables.

Read more about processed food and health risks: https://foodtank.com/news/2017/10/ipes-health-costs-industrial-food/

Chronic illness and poverty in Canadian population shows that even with a nationalized health care system the lower the socio-economic bracket a person is in, on average, the lower their expected lifespan may be and they are more likely to develop chronic diseases. One province with lower obesity and smoking rates did have lower chronic illness and reduced mortality rates compared to other areas even with the difference in socio-economic brackets: https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2009/oct/pdf/08_0254.pdf

The trend is seen in Australia also: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1743-8462-1-8

And in the U.S.:  https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/10/30/americans-in-poverty-at-greater-risk-for-chronic-health-problems

Poverty itself can make life more complex and stressful due to too many bills and not enough money to pay any of them or due to challenges of transportation when public transport is the only option. Simply having more on one’s mind can make decisions and thinking more difficult for anyone based on research findings. Excess number of things to remember can slow down the thought processes for other tasks. Behavioral Economics 

Adequate health care is important but so is an adequate wholesome food supply and clean air and water. Racism is found in how we zone housing areas and distribute and charge for food and water and it affects health and lifespan – inequality is racist.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes