Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Syrian children has gone so bad that mental health professionals have released a new name for their case – “human devastation syndrome.” The kids are said to be extremely traumatised that there is no existing name to describe how they feel.
Dr M.K. Hamza, a neuropsychologist with the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS), told ATTN that the kind of devastation Syrian children deal with is beyond what soldiers see in the war. The doctor described the kids as “dismantled human beings.”
He and his team have talked to these children and they have learned that the symptoms being displayed by many of them are far beyond those normally associated with PTSD. “You have children who are devastated and this is not the end of it,” he added.
“You get out of a family of five or six or 10 or whatever, you get one survivor, two survivors sometimes,” Hamza shared. Syrian children are also forced to deal with physical impairment and amputations but they have still managed to head to the refugee camp somehow.
Hamza chairs the mental health committee of SAMS, a non-profitable organisation that aims to provide medical reliefs to victims of the conflict in Syria. SAMS’ 1,000 Syrian-American members volunteer to help.
The war in the country has been ongoing for five years now. Based on a data from the United Nations, nearly 400,000 people have already lost their lives. The civilian population is terrorised by jihadi groups such as ISIS. Missiles and governments are also considered as killers in Syria with more than 90 percent of the civilians killed in the country since March 2011 by the regime and its allies per the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
Hamza went on to share that even the word “poor” isn’t sufficient to describe the situation in the country because it is less than human condition. Iyad Alkhouri, a psychiatrist who volunteers with the organisation, agrees.
He said there are girls on the streets of Beirut that sell themselves and they are as young as 8-9 years old. When their parents are advised to send these young girls to school so they can improve themselves, they say, “They make $50 a day. Can you give me $50 a day?,” Alkhouri shared.
With millions of devastated kids, Hamza wonders where the situation is going to lead. “One thing is for sure, and it runs counter to the see-no-evil isolationism that, at least rhetorically, is now en vogue: “It’s going to impact the whole world,” he said.