Childhood Abuse and Neglect and Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome

3818 Words 16 Pages
Introduction This study briefly reviews complex trauma and discusses how it manifests in adolescents with a history of childhood abuse and neglect. A history of childhood abuse and neglect often leads to long-term emotional, behavioral and physical dysregulation that do not always fit the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) diagnostic criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This has led to the proposal of a separate but related diagnosis termed Developmental Trauma Disorder (Cook, Blaustein, Spinazzola & van der Kolk, 2003; van der Kolk, 2005; Najjar, Weller, Weisbrot & Weller, 2008). This diagnosis is based on an assessment of the literature on complex trauma …show more content…
In the ACE study, the presence of one or more of these childhood adverse events was associated with smoking, obesity, depression, a history of suicide attempt, current substance abuse and addiction, risky sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and diabetes. The individual cost of child complex trauma cannot be assessed, but the cost per year has been estimated at 94 billion dollars per year (Cook, Blaustein, Spinazzola & van der Kolk, 2003). Complex Trauma during childhood and adolescence has been causally implicated in a host of psychological disorders across the life-span. These disorders include problems with emotional self-regulation, attachment disorders, mood disorders, addictions, eating disorders, somatoforms disorders, sexual disorders, and dissociative disorders (Cook, Blaustein, Spinazzola & van der Kolk, 2003). The presence of exposure to complex trauma during childhood and adolescence also increases vulnerability to further traumatic experiences, increasing the chances of having PTSD after exposure to trauma (van der Kolk, 2005). Since complex trauma results in a multifaceted array of emotional, behavioral, and physical dysregulation, it is often misdiagnosed as one or more of the co-morbid disorders that may be a part of the Developmental Trauma Disorder pattern. This can lead to

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