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How Horrific War Images May Be Giving You Secondary PTSD

It’s quite hard at the moment to avoid the horrific images and videos emerging from the Middle East on social media and the news.

But did you know overconsumption of this type of media can lead to secondary post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – the result of viewing, reading, or hearing about first-hand trauma.

On today’s episode of The Briefing, Antoinette Lattouf is joined by associate professor Arash Javanbakht from Wayne State University to discuss how to care about what’s happening in the world without sacrificing our mental health.

Listen to today’s episode of The Briefing:

Mr Javanbakht said it’s much easier now for anyone with a device to essentially become a reporter, meaning there is more content being posted that people will consume.

Consuming such content can cause an array of symptoms of secondary PTSD.

“Everybody with a cell phone is a reporter [so] we will get a lot more exposure to these images and the stories and the videos,” he said.

“Symptoms could range from high anxiety, feeling irritable, feeling angry and frustrated, feeling stressed and worried, worried about our own safety too.”

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Mr Janavbakht said these feelings can also bring on survivor’s guilt and offered some advice for those struggling with that.

“One happy person is better than two unhappy people. There are people who are not around anymore to enjoy it,” he said.

“There are people who are not around anymore to enjoy it, so now you and I are responsible for enjoying it.

“And the happier and more prosperous and productive, you and I are. The more we can advocate for those who are not around or don’t have the tools to advocate for themselves.”

Listen to today’s episode of The Briefing to hear Mr Janavbakht’s full insights into secondary PTSD and what we can do to limit our exposure while still staying informed with what’s going on in the world.

Subscribe to The Briefing, Australia’s fastest-growing news podcast on Listnr today. The Briefing serves up the latest news headlines and a deep dive into a topic affecting you. All in under 20 minutes.