Migrants and Refugees Face an Invisible Trauma We Can’t Ignore
Multipliere are now commonplace Legal challengesTLate last month, the Biden administration sought to strengthen Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This new rule would protect over 600,000 people who were brought to America by their parents. While proponents of the program welcomed the move and heralded it an “effort to bulletproof the DACA program,” our response in this moment overlooks a fundamental problem: each challenge on immigration—whether the Muslim Ban, family separation, or challenging DACA—takes a toll on refugee and migrants through vicarious trauma and weathering, regardless of the outcome.
We debate whether annual refugee caps should be abolished or whether we welcome Haitian refugees and Afghan refugees. Every day, migrants are subject to the terror of instability. This trauma adds to the already existing trauma.—often ignored because of other acute, pressing issues—It can have long-lasting psychological and physical effects on the health of those who are displaced or displaced. We record these in refugee and migrant patients and their records for many years. It is essential to understand this sometimes-invisible trauma in order to recover and rehab.
Explosive experimentsIn 1980s experiments on rats found that rats develop tolerance when subjected pain. Conversely, rats with no control over how they’re shocked feel depressed and dejected. They also lose weight, get ulcers, and are more likely to develop other diseases.
Similar to humans, people experience an overwhelming response to persistent uncertainty. Think about the routines and patterns that enable us to function in everyday life. Many families were affected by the lack of an in-person school during the COVID-19 epidemic. This led to record levels of unemployment. The resignation of women from their workMany families moved to suburbs to be closer to schools. Online classesMake sure you put significant Stress and strainFamilies and Marriages
DACA recipients, migrants and refugees in Afghanistan and Greece and at the U.S.–Mexico border are subject to weeks, months and years of instability. It affects more than one person or family. Instability can have a devastating effect on entire communities. vicarious traumaTrauma, or the transmission of trauma SecondhandThrough listening to the stories of others who have suffered pain and suffering. Think about how it feels to be unable to drive because of the death of a close friend or having to make a difficult decision on whether you should send your children off to school. Vicarious traumaIt creates its own mental weight and burden.
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Director of the Human Rights Impact Lab, and a forensic medical examiner of trauma and torture, I record in refugee and asylum-seeking patients severe trauma from insecurity: flashbacks following the hearing of a friend being deported; inability to fall asleep at night when he told the story; panic after learning about a child separated from her parents and put in shelter; intense stress due to the constant challenges of evacuating Afghan allies; fearful reading about news stories about young Mexican girls trafficked and kidn
I have seen these stories in my own patients and they leave a significant and prominent psychological and physical impression. Immigrants of every legal status experience instability and vicarious trauma. WeatherThe physiological wear and tear that stress can cause, such as advanced aging, heart attacks, increased blood pressure, or elevated blood pressure is called “stress”. As with the shock experiments in rats, uncertainty can cause as much harm as the results themselves.
It is possible to have an effect on multiple generations by weathering. The power of traumatizing experiences can be used to your advantage. change our gene functionThrough multiple mechanisms like methylation marks. These methylation markers attach to our DNA, and act as off-off switches. The external environment can trigger these methylation markers, which may be activated by symptoms such as starvation or stress. Trauma can cause lasting damage that may last for many generations. Mechanisms that are not geneticThey regulate the DNA function.
Vicarious trauma has typically been described as an individual phenomenon—a social worker who is devastated by hearing again and again about the abuse of children; a physician who is overwhelmed by seeing pain and suffering of dying ICU patients; a firefighter who is traumatized by seeing a child die in flames—but vicarious trauma can also be collective. Vicarious trauma was experienced when we witnessed the World Trade Center towers collapse on September 11, 2001. We experienced vicarious trauma in witnessing George Floyd’s murder on video. Vicarious trauma was experienced by us when we watched the Capitol besieged on January 6.
Vicarious trauma from anti-immigrant policies directly affects our American collective. When the Trump administration, for example, embraced a “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border resulting in family separation, vicarious trauma affected the immigration officers who were responsible for tearing children from their parents or keeping watch over toddlers wrapped in foil blankets on the floor. The same was true at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, where young military officers within arm’s reach of desperate families with young children had to enforce a security zone and block them from coming in. They may carry the trauma of their parents and infect the local communities they live.
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As a doctor, the first thing I do when treating patients with hemorhaging is to look back at the entire trauma. Then I can identify the cause of bleeding and revive the patient.
Advocates for migrants’ rights believe that it is crucial to recognize the causes of trauma. Numerous studies have shown trauma is a real problem. DNA methylationIf the source of the problem can be identified and treated, then it may be reversed. At a minimum, this includes a trauma-informed evaluation of psychological and physical health and targeted therapies when appropriate. We might treat chronic pain and nerve injury with medication or therapy after torture. Post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorders may also be treated.
Recognizing vicarious trauma is essential, as well as the importance of managing refugees and migrants in times of instability. It is important to understand the long-term effects of what we do in our communities. When we take a step back, it is possible to begin exploring, addressing, and accounting for the trauma we’ve caused in refugee or migrant communities and our own.