Inner City Oakland Youth Suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Wendy Tokuda, CBS San Francisco, May 16, 2014

In the inner city, a health problem is making it harder for young people to learn. The Centers for Disease Control said 30 percent of inner city kids suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The CDC said these children often live in virtual war zones. Doctors at Harvard said they actually suffer from a more complex form of PTSD that some call “hood disease.”

Unlike soldiers, children in the inner city never leave the combat zone. They often experience trauma, repeatedly.

“You could take anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, and the things we are currently emphasizing in school will fall off their radar. Because frankly it does not matter in our biology if we don’t survive the walk home,” said Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Ph.D. of San Francisco State University.

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Gun violence is only one of the traumas or stressors in concentrated areas of deep poverty.

“Its kids are unsafe, they’re not well fed,” Duncan-Andrade said. “And when you start stacking those kids of stressors on top of each other, that’s when you get these kinds of negative health outcomes that seriously disrupt school performance.”

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