Another psychologist explains PTSD. Caleb Lack asks Can one get PTSD via Twitter? and answers yes, easily.
I don’t really keep up much with drama and goings-on in the skeptoatheist online world. I’ve got friends who do, though, and they pointed me to a recent post with the in no way linkbaitesque title of:
Twitter gave me PTSD’: Woman claims mean comments and ‘cyberstalking’ gave her an illness usually suffered by WAR VETERANS
I was asked by this friend, basically, “Can one get post traumatic stress disorder from Twitter?”
In a word: Yes.
That second link isn’t to a post at all, it’s to an article…in the Daily Mail. Yes, the Daily Mail – the UK tabloid sleaze-sheet, which yes, actually published an article echoing “Thunderfoot” jeering at Melody for having PTSD from being harassed on Twitter. That’s the kind of outlet that allies itself with “Thunderfoot” and his harassing friends.
I urge reading the whole post; it’s both interesting and informative. Here’s a takeaway:
TL;DR – PTSD occurs more often in females, as well as for a host of pre-, peri-, and post-trauma variables, with around 6-7% of the U.S. population qualifying for the disorder at some point in their lives, not just war veterans (although they have very high rates).
So, now that you know a bit more about PTSD than you did before (hopefully, anyway. If not, you may need to do some rereading), let’s return to the question at hand: can one “get” PTSD from Twitter?
Bullying has long been known to have a severe impact on mental health, particularly if the bullying is repeated and prolonged. While research has traditionally focused on youth (as briefly reviewed here), more recent work has examined it’s impact on adults. as well, particularly in the workplace. Research focusing specifically on cyberbullying has found very similar results to “traditional” bullying, in terms of increased risk of depression, suicide, and anxiety. In youth, around a third of bullying victims display quite high rates of PTSD symptoms and rates are perhaps even higher in adults who are bullied.
The comments are filling up with comments by people who like to bully demanding why Melody doesn’t just stay away from Twitter. They could instead be deciding not to bully people, but no, that’s not what they’re doing. They’re demanding why a victim of bullying doesn’t just deprive herself of one of the major social media outlets in order to avoid bullying by people like them.