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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Trauma therapy causes harm

If your child has been exposed to some sort of psychological trauma, you might be tempted to take him to some sort of expert for assistance. Your child will be better off if you do not.

SciAm reports on a new meta-study:
In the aftermath of traumatic events like the Newtown massacre, Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, children need to heal, just as adults do. ...

The study focused on non-interpersonal trauma, such as natural disasters, terrorism and community violence, and excluded sexual abuse and domestic violence. A total of 22 trials meeting the criteria provided evidence on interventions for children exposed to trauma. ...

Among the 20 treatments included in those trials were various psychotherapies focusing on trauma or grief, school-based programs, group therapy and three medication trials: imipramine (Tofranil), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft). The results are sobering: researchers don't know if any medications help, don't know if anything works long-term, and don't know much about possible harms from interventions.
This means that the experts who prescribe drugs and other therapies are not following the scientific evidence on what works, and those who promote these therapies have been unable to show any benefit. This meta-study says that no pharmacotherapy intervention demonstrated efficacy.

Most of these studies did not even consider the possibility that the therapies could be harmful, even tho drugs have side effects and studies show that grief therapy makes people worse. SciAm continues:
In fact, some PTSD therapies have shown harms in adults recovering from sexual abuse, such as retraumatization, but only five studies in this review even looked for harms. No harms were found in two psychotherapy trials, but among the three medication trials, none showed benefit and one showed possible harm. The placebo group in the sertraline study showed more improvement in quality of life measures than those receiving the medication showed, and those taking sertraline experienced side effects from the medication and more suicidal thoughts.
So what does help? Having family support:
A growing body of research points to the importance of "protective factors" in helping children cope with trauma and develop resilience. Protective factors include how engaged children are with their communities, schools and faith, how well they regulate their emotions, what their support systems are and how attached they are to a caregiver.
The phrase "attached ... to a caregiver" seems to be some sort of liberal euphemism for having a mom and dad in the home. The article uses this term as if a babysitter or social worker were an adequate substitute for a parent, but no study says that.

As noted before, the rise of therapism is a direct attack on the American family. It is led by supposed experts, but it is not grounded in scientific research.

A long NY Times story on the hazards of psychotropic drugs reports:
Various studies have estimated that 8 percent to 35 percent of college students take stimulant pills to enhance school performance. Few students realize that giving or accepting even one Adderall pill from a friend with a prescription is a federal crime. Adderall and its stimulant siblings are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule II drugs, in the same category as cocaine, because of their highly addictive properties.
Another long NY Times article on student pressure says that stress is not necessarily harmful:
There are many psychological and physiological reasons that long-term stress is harmful, but the science of elite performance has drawn a different conclusion about short-term stress. Studies that compare professionals with amateur competitors — whether concert pianists, male rugby or female volleyball players — show that professionals feel just as much anxiety as amateurs. The difference is in how they interpret their anxiety. The amateurs view it as detrimental, while the professionals tend to view stress as energizing. It gets them to focus.
So if you hear an expert say that stress is bad, realize that stress of often good for kids.

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