• Steps to Preventing Media-Induced PTSD



    Terrorist attacks. School shootings. Racial injustice. Politics.

    Is that story in the news robbing you of sleep at night?
    Even though you know better, do you find yourself needing to read every article, blog post, FB post or Twitter post about the story and its horrible aftermath?
    Are you obsessively watching ongoing coverage and/or engaging in
    conversations about the story?
    Do you find yourself feeling stressed, frustrated, or overwhelmed by the details of the story?

    If so, its likely that you have experienced a form of MEDIA-INDUCED PTSD.

     Media consumption during times of personal, national or even global crisis can be traumatic. Some mental health experts are now calling it “media-induced PTSD” from too much exposure to news and media following a traumatic event(s).

    The US Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD reports that children and adults who watched the most post 9/11 coverage had more stress symptoms than those who watched less.

    Todd Essig, a clinical psychologist who blogs about mental health and technology for Forbes, believes PTSD from social media is a genuine possibility. He points to studies showing  media-induced PTSD following Sept. 11, and he mentioned that some children who kept re-watching footage of the World Trade Center towers collapsing, did develop PTSD.

    Trauma/PTSD/post-traumatic stress disorder are all terms that the general public is becoming more aware of with each passing year. If you or someone you know is experiencing physical symptoms like high blood pressure, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety and other out of the ordinary physical issues, you may be experiencing media induced PTSD.

    The following SIX steps may be necessary to gain some new coping skills to deal with these media related maladies:

    •  Knock it off! Literally! Just turn off the television, radio and computer, or reprogram your television to stay away from those programs that would cause you to re-engage in the world of traumatizing news events.
    • GIVE YOURSELF BREAKS OFTEN. Step away from the media source and go outside, listen to some relaxing music, meditate. If you are like me and your work requires you to engage in headline news and non-stop round the clock news coverage, make sure you take breaks every hour to get away and do something fun or something regenerative for your soul.
    • Avoid watching news or topic heavy programming immediately before going to bed.
    • For children, limit their total screen (computer, phone, TV) time. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and thoughts. Listen for how they are interpreting what they hear in the media and talk with them about it.
    • Finally, talk with a family member, clergy or a professional therapist about what you are feeling and how to get support.







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