People exposed to atrocity and persecution during an outbreak of war can induce long-lasting trauma.
It is essential to break intergenerational trauma to prevent onward transmission to following generations.
Survivors often recall feeling a surge of overwhelming panic witnessing personal belongings destroyed. Dead bodies are scattered around on the ground. Women and girls are screaming while being raped.
But the effect on the cognitive, behavioural, and physiological processes are forgotten.
Cumulative exposure to these incidences causes symptoms linked to post-traumatic stress disorder. Re-experiencing traumatic events, avoiding interactions, excessive arousal, and numb emotions. These episodes are traces of war unveiled in the body.
In addition, individuals develop other physical health problems and substance use.
It profoundly affects marital intimacy, parent-child attachment bond and daily activity.
Indeed, without healing the wounds of war increases, the probability of transmitting trauma to the offspring. A phenomenon which is known as intergenerational trauma.
In the 1990s, refugees fleeing war-torn states arrived in the UK. Here, they encountered folks from different ethnicities and foreign languages. So, naturally, they settled in communities inhabited by people from shared cultural practices to preserve their identity.
Unfortunately, public estates in deprived neighbourhoods are poorly maintained and prone to violence.
The apartment often contains mould patches, deteriorated surfaces and loose floorboards, which adversely affect health. Transitioning into this new life can be stressful for parents to establish a healthy family unit.
In addition, unresolved war trauma and upbringing methods inherited from the previous generation can produce chaotic and hostile homes.
On the condition that a primary caregiver cannot interpret and respond to a child’s distress, they tend to implement physical discipline and use harsh words.
The child learns poor communication skills, so when they encounter academic and friendship issues, they cannot express themselves because of repercussions.
Silently, they make adjustments, but a lack of maturity hinders this process.
These environmental factors intertwine in a complex manner resulting in epigenetic modification.
It impacts development, confidence and self-esteem. The body becomes hyper-vigilant, distorting the perception of danger. It increases the likelihood of limited capacity to differentiate between real and imagined threats.
Regular brain activation of fight or flight response can be overwhelming to manage daily activities. Perhaps the child exhibits low mood, avoidance or misconduct.
Intergenerational trauma is not a specific diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Nonetheless, professionals acknowledge the existence of this phenomenon.
Treatment options are available on the NHS, where people can access holistic and intense interventions delivered through individual, group and family therapy.