Save the Children: Syrian Kids Suffer From 'Toxic Stress' Due To Years Of War

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 08, 10:07 am

Syrian children were reportedly in the state of "toxic stress," as per the findings of an aid group called Save the Children. The group said this is because of being exposed to war for the past six years.

The group said the damage to these kids could become irreversible if the wars will not stop. Most of the effects of the "toxic stress" on these kids were aggressive behavior, bedwetting, self-harm and suicide attempts. Interviews were conducted in order to derive a conclusion.

The latest study of Save the Children was the largest they have ever conducted when it comes to the well-being and mental health of Syrian kids. The war in Syria started in 2011 and claimed the lives of more than 300,000. Most kids lost their parents from the war and Save the Children said this is a terrifying mental health crisis among the kids trapped in the war-torn country.

More than 450 people were interviewed in the seven of the 14 Syrian governorates. Not only kids were interviewed but also parents, caregivers, aid workers, teachers and social workers were asked varying questions. Almost all the children and 84 percent of the adults identified bombing and shelling the top cause of psychological stress. Two-thirds of the kids interviewed either lost someone dear to them when their house was bombed and was also injured from the incident.

Post-traumatic stress disorder was also evident as 71 percent of the kids suffered from bedwetting or involuntary urinations. Forty-eight percent of the children lost their ability to speak and half of the sample population of kids showed feelings of extreme sadness and grief, BBC reported.

The long-term effects of toxic stress are the disruptions in the development of the brain and other organs, the possibility of being an addict and development of mental health disorders when they grow older, ABC News noted. Dr. Marcia Brophy, a senior mental health adviser who works with Save the Children, said, "After six years of war we are at a tipping point, after which the impact on children's formative years and childhood development may be so great that the damage could be permanent and irreversible."

It was believed at least three million Syrian children under the age of six-years-old know nothing but war. Millions chose to flee the country. 

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