Scientists from the Stanford University have conducted a study to find out how boys and girls cope with traumatic stress. Based on the results, girls deal with traumatic stress better than boys, and the difference is made by the insula, a part of the brain associated with empathy.
Doctors usually notice these symptoms in boys who find it hard to deal with any sort of trauma, depression, and stress. This explains why men are more prone to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to women.
PTSD is most commonly seen in U.S. veterans who go through a tremendous amount of stress and life-threatening situations during their time in the Army. After monitoring the insula in both boys and girls, researchers discovered that it is usually larger in boys going under a lot of stress.
However, this is not the only difference between the two gender groups as the team found out that girls and boys experience distinct symptoms due to traumatic stress. It means that the same treatment cannot be applied to boys and girls as well.
The scientists explained that although boys are more likely to get PTSD, girls can also experience this disorder. When this happens, a specific part of the insula ages at a fast rate.
This part is called the anterior circular sulcus, and it is the one that processes emotions after a traumatic event. More precisely, even if girls have a lower risk of getting PTSD, this disorder has a more negative impact on their insula.
During the study, the researchers divided 59 children between nine and 17 years into two groups.
Those in the first group experienced minimum one traumatic event, whereas those in the other group didn’t. Based on the findings, they were able to see how girls and boys dealt with traumatic stress.
Even if most people ignore it, stress is a widely-spread issue that has a negative impact on most people across the world. Previous studies have shown that stress might trigger other symptoms related to cardiovascular conditions, brain disorders, and even cancer.
Scientists will continue their investigation as they aim to develop a reliable treatment to reduce the traumatic stress levels. Also, parents are strongly recommended to communicate with their children about their feelings.
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