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Cyber-bullying linked to PTSD in children

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Posted at 11:07 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 23:28:08-05

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often thought of in terms of the military and veterans, rarely is it associated with children. 

A recent study conducted as Hasbro Children's Hospital in Rhode Island found that nearly half of teens who went to the ER, for any reason, reported being cyber-bullied. Many of them displayed signs of PTSD. 

The study published online in General Hospital Psychiatry, suggests PTSD is currently under diagnosed, underreported and under treated. 

ABC2's Ashley James sat down with Dr. Meena Vimalananda, the medical director of child and adolescent services at Sheppard Pratt in Towson. She said cyber-bullying can absolutely cause PTSD.

Grace McComas' mom, Christine said before her death, Grace was diagnosed with PTSD. 

"We didn't know what we were seeing and there's much more to her story," McComas said. "But she definitely had a PTSD diagnosis."

McComas continues to share her story, spreading the message of kindness and helping other parents and kids in similar situations. 

In 2013, the state of Maryland enacted Grace's Law, making the misuse of interactive computer services a criminal offense. 

What should parents be looking for? Doctors say to be sensitive to any changes in children. Don't assume your child will always come and talk to you. If you suspect any changes in your child, Dr. Vimalananda recommends talking to your family doctor.