Gangs and mental health

images-1A British study of gang members found many suffer mental health problems, primarily related to exposure to  violence.

Anxiety disorders and PTSD seem to be common, reports the BBC

“Experts said opportunities to help young people were often missed.

“The research team from Queen Mary, University of London, started by surveying 4,664 men aged between 18 and 34 in Britain. Researchers included significant numbers of men from areas of the country with high gang memberships, such as Hackney and Glasgow East, from areas with high ethnic minority populations and areas of social deprivation.

“The gang members and the violent men were found to be particularly prone to mental disorders and more likely to access psychiatric services. Prof Jeremy Coid, lead study author and director of the forensic psychiatry research unit at Queen Mary, University of London, explained the likely cause.

“It is probable that, among gang members, high levels of anxiety disorder and psychosis were explained by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the most frequent psychiatric outcome of exposure to violence.” He said the fear of future violence and victimisation led young men to experience extreme anxiety.

“The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, said: “Readiness to retaliate violently if disrespected, excitement from violence, and short-term benefits from instrumental violence lead to further cycles of violence and risk of violent victimisation.”

More:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23275139

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