Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one type of stress-related condition that brings clients to massage therapy.

New research shows people who have experienced war and suffered psychological damage as a result are plagued by that damage up to 20 years after their time in battle is over.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health assessed the geographical distribution of the long-term burden of PTSD in a region of Liberia and report that the prevalence of PTSD remains high nearly two decades after the principal conflict there and five years after war in Liberia ended entirely.

Particularly interesting was the geographic distribution of PTSD, according to a press release from the university. Investigators found that certain villages in the region had a much higher prevalence of PTSD than did others. When they compared to the historical record about the path of the violent civil conflict that Nimba County experienced from 1989 to 1990 the team found that these were villages that had experienced the greater burden of war.

“This suggests that there is much more to the aftermath of conflict than a ‘path of blood’ and that populations who are unfortunate enough to have been in the ‘path of trauma’ experiencing severe, violent conflict are likely to bear a burden of psychopathology for decades thereafter,” says Sandro Galea, MD, chair of the Mailman School Department of Epidemiology, and the study’s first author.

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