Homosexuals More Likely To Suffer From Mental Illness

Homosexuals, bisexuals and heterosexuals who had a same-sex partner for making out are one-and-a-half to two times as likely to experience violent events, especially in childhood, than the general population and have double the risk of experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a consequence of these events.

This study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Children's Hospital Boston links higher rates of PTSD among gays, lesbians, bisexuals and heterosexuals to exposure to greater violence.

Traumatic events like active combat, child maltreatment, interpersonal violence, or unexpected death of a loved one can lead to PTSD, a mental illness which is characterized by distressing memories of the traumatic event, avoidance of objects, places, or people associated with the event, emotional numbing and an increased sense of vigilance.

PTSD in turn can lead to drug and alcohol abuse and depression. They have difficulties in maintaining relationships too.

Study"s lead author Andrea Roberts, a postdoctoral fellow in epidemiology at HSPH, said that one of the most important lessons from this study is that "medical professionals need to be aware that a high percentage of patients with minority sexual orientation may have been victims of interpersonal violence and may benefit from follow-up care to cope with the aftermath of violent victimization."

The study used data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.

Read more about: homosexuality, sexual abuse, trauma
Story first published: Monday, April 19, 2010, 17:02 [IST]

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