Research Shows Many Inner City Youth Suffer From ‘Hood Disease’

Hood DiseaseHave you ever heard of “Hood Disease?”

Me either.

But according to recent research cited by KPIX 5, it’s a condition that large numbers of our inner-city youth suffer from, and its due to persistent exposure to trauma.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 30 percent of U.S. inner-city youth are affected by the disorder, and, according to their website, it has posed learning disabilities. Those who exhibit the disorder often live in virtual war zones, the CDC report says.

The term was coined by doctors at Harvard. “Hood Disease,” describes a more complex form of “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” the site reports. And since the youth rarely escape their communities—unlike soldiers who eventually leave a war zone—they are repeatedly exposed to trauma.

“You could take anyone who is experiencing the symptoms of PTSD, and the things that we are currently emphasizing in school will fall off their radar,” San Francisco State University associate professor Jeff Duncan-Andrade told KPIX 5. “Because, frankly, [schoolwork] does not matter in our biology if we don’t survive the walk home.”

Gun violence represents just part of the problem.

“It’s kids who’re unsafe, they’re not well fed,” Duncan-Andrade told the news site. “And when you start stacking those kinds of stressors on top of each other, that’s when you get these kinds of negative health outcomes that seriously disrupt school performance.”

Violence in Oakland, California last year is cited as an example. About two thirds of the overall murders happened in East Oakland, where 59 people were killed, the station’s report says. Some students at Fremont High School in East Oakland wear laminated “Rest in peace” cards hung on lanyards around their necks, a sign mourning for slain friends.

“You have some kids that are walking around with six of them,” Fremont teacher Jasmene Miranda told KPIX 5.

Read more at CBS San Francisco.

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