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Monday, November 27, 2006

Report: 33 percent of Sderot kids suffer post-traumatic stress

Last update - 08:18 27/11/2006

Report: 33 percent of Sderot kids suffer post-traumatic stress
By Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondent

Recent research has found that one out of every three Sderot children suffer
from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Staff from the Tel Hai College
resource center, who have been involved in life in Sderot for six years,
conducted the research.

Center director Prof. Moli Lahad said she expects to find that all of these
children also have at least one parent who suffers from PTSD. "These grave
figures stem from the fact that the parents' basic security in their ability
to protect their children has been completely shaken," Lahad explains. "About
a third of the population - adults and children- suffers from acute anxiety,
meaning that any occurrence is immediately interpreted as a threat and people
spend their entire lives 'on alert.'"

Lahad adds that it is difficult for children to concentrate on schoolwork or
carry out daily routines, while adults have trouble performing at work and the
constant tension can cause violent outbursts in the home. "In this group, more
and people show symptoms of depression," she says.

Lahad divides the Sderot population into three categories. The above-mentioned
population is defined as "suffering," while the other two populations are
"adapting" or "leaving." She explains that the adapting population appear to
have come to terms with the difficult situation, but "this sometimes leads to
risky behavior. Research indicates that these people are not scared of
anything and believe nothing can hurt them, sometimes leading them not to take
proper precautions."

The "leaving" population can be divided into two sub-categories: The first
group is extremely anxious and it leaves the city periodically. Its members
are in an ongoing situation of being divided between staying home and fleeing,
creating constant disquiet and insecurity.

The second sub-category is planning its permanent departure from Sderot. This
population is usually stronger and has greater financial resources. "This
group's departure from the city and region will be a particularly harsh blow
to the region, as the population will lose this
strong segment," Lahad predicts.

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