I fought against people for so long, endured weird looks and obligatory ‘urm yes it is possible’ comments from multiple professionals who I have encountered in the quest to help our son and not one of them has explored this seriously or really paid any attention to what I have asked about the relationship between his first 7.5 months and the problems that have been evident since he was about 12 months old. I have asked, “does his first few months have any relation to his night terror problems” “does he have a developmental delay because of his early experiences” “Is his hyperactivity anything to do with poor developmental care in his first months?” and so on and so forth. I usually get a little discussion but mostly we move onto well maybe, but what do we treat his ADD/PDD/RAD with now!? I get that, I really do, but shouldn’t we at least start at the beginning? It seemed possible to me that he was suffering trauma. In my other posts I have mentioned that I believe he has a form of PTSD but no one has ever really agreed with me or pursued that treatment protocol specifically.
So I have recently been reading about a new classification for the DSM-5, it hasn’t been entered yet it is just something they are considering entering on the next publication. For us, it fits!!!!
“… Dr. van der Kolk opined this lack of an adequate diagnostic code resulted in dangerous consequences for kids. He estimates that as many as 8 million children in the U.S.A. have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and/or ADHD and prescribed large doses of medication. Yet, he’s observed the root of the problem for many of these kids lies in disrupted attachment, abuse, or neglect that is often left untreated.
Similarly, as abused kids reach adulthood they are given diagnoses of recurrent depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, or somatization disorders because they don’t match the current criteria for PTSD. Not only do these patients have to live with the stigma of other diagnoses, but it also leaves the root cause of the problem untreated. … ”
Personally, I believe that this happens to both biological and adopted kids. Think about a traumatic delivery where either the baby or the mother has to fight to give birth or stay alive even, maybe even a traumatic in-utero experience such as a car accident or a fall, a disrupted attachment with a significant caregiver, an adoption, foster care, domestic violence etc. there are a whole host of scenarios that one can come up with that might make a baby switch into fight or flight mode. Can a babies senses really be put on a constant life-long high alert from any trauma early on that seems life threatening? I am not sure but the more I read the more I think maybe it can. I do know many adults who suffered significant trauma in their childhood and as adults STILL have issues related to personal relationships, sleep, anger and anxiety! I am not the only one who thinks this of course. Heather T. Forbes has rescued our house in her pioneering “Beyond Logic, consequences and control” approach to parenting dysregulated children, and Dr. Bruce Perry, who if you visit his page will give you an indepth free online course in child trauma and the brain’s reaction.
As strange as it sounds, I am excited that this actually may become a diagnostic tool and the therapy will be tailored accordingly – behavioral rather than medicinal, because often the medications just band-aid the problem they don’t resolve them in the long term. I, luckily am already on the path of working with PTSD because it made more sense to me, hopefully we will continue to see the gains we have already begun to see.