Anyone who has been a victim of a burglary or home invasion can tell you that the worst part of the experience is not the material loss. It is the feeling that your privacy and security have been invaded. Victims of burglary, home invasion and other crimes can suffer tremendous and long-lasting psychological damage. In some cases, the damage may require professional intervention.
A typical first reaction to burglary or home invasion tends to be shock, and disbelief that something like this could happen. Some victims even try to work out scenarios in their own minds to explain that what they are witnessing is not really what it is. For example, you might wonder if the neighborhood kids broke your back door window rather than first considering that your home might have been burglarized.
Once the shock begins to wear off, victims often become angry and fearful. They realize they have been victimized once, and it is just a short step to living in fear that the perpetrator of the original crime will return for a second shot. Crime experts say that fear and anger can be long-term responses.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
For some people, the stress and fear that comes with being a crime victim eventually translate into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While PTSD became part of the public consciousness following the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, doctors had already known about it for quite a while. That’s because war veterans are not the only ones who often suffer from the disorder.
Any kind of traumatic event that causes extreme levels of shock and fear can lead to PTSD. Experts are now saying that burglary, home invasion and other crimes can be triggers of the disorder. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, a person suffering from PTSD can exhibit the following symptoms:
- Sleeping disorders, including insomnia and nightmares.
- Flashbacks relating to the original event.
- Anxiety, tension, and irritability.
- Mood swings that can include angry outbursts.
- Self-imposed reclusiveness and isolation.
- Strong feelings of estrangement or detachment.
- Moderate to severe memory loss.
The symptoms of PTSD are severe enough that a person suffering from the disorder should seek professional help. Not all victims of burglary, home invasion and other crimes will develop the disorder, but keep an eye out for the symptoms of PTSD if you or someone you know has been victimized by a traumatic crime.
Recovering from the Trauma
Victims of traumatic crimes like burglary and home invasion need plenty of support in order to recover. That support begins almost immediately after the traumatic event and carries through the conclusion of the criminal justice process, and beyond if necessary. Some crime victims may need additional support even after their cases are closed.
Fortunately, counselors and medical professionals are well trained to help victims get their lives back on track. Seek professional help if you are suffering from trauma as the result of a burglary or home invasion.
Don’t wait to be a victim before protecting yourself and your family with monitored home security. While no home security system is 100 percent crime-proof, monitored home security is a very strong deterrent that can go a long way toward preventing victimization – and the potential traumatization – of you and your family.