Children made ill by ghost story

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The Independent Online
TWO BOYS aged 10 suffered psychiatric illness after watching a frightening ghost story, proving that television can affect children's behaviour, according to doctors, writes Celia Hall.

Dr Walter Silveira, consultant child pyschiatrist at Gulson Hospital, Coventry, treated the children, who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after watching Ghostwatch over Hallowe'en in 1992. Both boys were described as 'worriers'.

There is little evidence that children suffer the stress disorder, characterised by nightmares, flashbacks, amnesia, anxiety and sleeplessness, but both children, from the West Midlands, were diagnosed with this condition. Their treatment, of between two and three weeks, was successful.

Dr Silveira says in tomorrow's British Medical Journal that only one case of the disorder in children had previously been reported.