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Discussion Of Former Child Soldiers With Ptsd And The Available Treatment Methods

1972 words - 8 pages

In the text article, "Childhood's End", a journalist describes his visit to Northern Uganda. (Hitchens, 2006) The purpose of his visit was to gather information about the notorious "Lord's Resistance Army", which is lead by a middle-aged man named Joseph Kony. For nineteen years, Joseph Kony has been terrorizing Ugandan villages in order to enslave children in his army. Many of these children are forced to become soldiers who then continue the onslaught of murder, rape and torture throughout Uganda. When travelling through Uganda, Christopher Hitchens was able to talk to local children either in rehab centers or in their villages. One child shared with him his experience of being attacked by the Lord's Resistance Army while he was at home with his four brothers. The boy described the most brutal and violent details of the attack, which involved torture, death and enslavement of his many boys in his village. The trauma and bloodshed that approximately 250 000 child soldiers worldwide are experiencing has resulted in researchers conducting studies on the impact these traumatic events has on the development of a child. What follows, is a discussion of PTSD among former child soldiers and examples of treatment methods being offered to children who have experienced war trauma through enslavement, torture or murder.In his magazine article describing the obscene violence that is currently going on in Uganda, Christopher Hitchens sits down with a boy named James at a rehab center. James was fortunate enough to escape being a slave to Kony, when he was marched all the way to Sudan, where an ambush ensued and James got away. Marching long distances was an initiation technique used by the Lord's Resistance Army in order to herd out the weaker boys. If a boy was too tired to go on, the other slaves were forced to brutally beat him to death. Before the march, James was savagely flogged with a wire lash and spared from having to kill his own family which is a frequent method of registration practised by the Lord's Resistance Army. No doubt, these experiences would have a negative developmental affect on any child, perhaps developing PTSD. Hitchens writes that when he was speaking to James, the boy would sit perfectly still in his chair, stoic, but when it came time for James to share his story, he began twisting in his chair. Along with rubbing his eyes and making waving gestures with his arms, these restless and jumpy behaviours are common symptoms of PTSD.The association of PTSD symptoms and the openness to reconcile, along with feelings of revenge among former child soldiers in Uganda and Congo was researched in 2005. (Bayer, Klasen, Adam, 2005) The study involved 169 former child soldiers selected from rehabilitation centers in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their intent of the study was to investigate the relationship between the severity of PTSD symptoms and the effect this has on the child's openness to reconcile, as well as the child's...

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