Amarah's Corner: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Part 1
Hi! My name is Amarah. Kids are important to me, and they’re important to Jesus, too.
In Matthew 18:10 KJV, Jesus said, “Take heed that ye despise not (hurt or be mean to) one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
“Kids like me” are kids whose parents are drug addicts, and alcoholics; kids who have suffered, or who are suffering, abuse and neglect on multiple levels; and kids who are victims of bullying.
This week my special friend, Corliss Taylor-Dunn, M.A., LMFT, shares information about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how PTSD appears in the lives of kids like me from the abuse and neglect of our drug addict parents. Among other things, kids like me feel intense fear and helplessness, which can lead to serious long-term struggles with depression, and anxiety; see below:
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER, PART 1
Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, is a Trauma and Stressor Related Disorder. It is closely related to Anxiety Disorders. Fear is an emotional response to a real or perceived imminent threat; while Anxiety Disorders are brought on in anticipation of a future threat, and share features of excessive fear and related behavioral disturbances. PTSD is brought on by memories of an extremely stressful event or series of events that cause intense fear, particularly if feelings of helplessness were present. Violent events such as war, physical or sexual assault, abuse, caregiver neglect, a serious accident involving a motor vehicle (my own PTSD cause) or airplane, bus or train crash accidents, fires, tornados, literally any violent disaster. You can develop PTSD if the event happened to you, or even if you only witnessed it. PTSD persists long after the event and is characterized by the intensity and length of the feelings, one’s reaction to these feelings, and the presence of particular symptoms. Not everyone struggling with PTSD has the same symptoms, or symptom patterns, which can vary. More than five million adults in the United States are affected by PTSD each year. Definitive studies on children with PTSD are underestimated, as not all abuses are reported. PTSD can occur at any age.
Experts are not entirely sure what causes some people to develop PTSD, but many think it happens when you are confronted with a traumatic event, and your mind is not able to process all the thoughts and feelings as it usually does.
Symptoms of PTSD usually develop within the first three months after the event, but they may not surface until months or even years after the original traumatic event. Symptoms may include:
- Intrusive thoughts recalling the traumatic event. In children above 6, play tends to repeat the themes of the trauma
- Nightmares. In children there may be frightening dreams with unrecognizable content.
- Efforts to avoid feelings and thoughts that either remind you of the traumatic event or that trigger similar feelings
- Feeling detached or unable to connect with loved ones
- Depression, hopelessness Feelings of guilt (from the false belief that you were responsible for the traumatic incident, or you could have prevented it)
- Irritability or angry outbursts
- Hypervigilance (being “jumpy,” overly aware of possible danger)
- Hypersensitivity, including at least two of the following reactions: trouble sleeping, being angry, having difficulty concentrating, startling easily, having a physical reaction (rapid heart rate or breathing, increase in blood pressure)
- Disrupted sleep, insomnia
- If you believe that you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD, please contact your local Mental Health Care professional
This information is not exhaustive, but introductory in scope. (DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association)
For more information please check The National Center for PTSD, [email protected], or nimh.nih.gov
Stay tuned for PTSD, Part II, next week!
Thank you Miss Corliss, and thank you for reading my column. Please send questions or comments to me in care of the Courier, [email protected] or write to me at Amarah’s Childrens Foundation “Kids Like Me” P.O. Box 354, Alamosa, CO 81101, or call (719) 480-4624, leave a message, and someone will return your call. If you know a kid like me, or parent who is an addict, or alcoholic, please tell him or her about “Amarah’s Corner, Kids Like Me” in the Valley Courier newspaper and tell them to contact me, or you can contact me on their behalf. And, if you know a kid like me, or parent, who does not have a Bible, but would like to have one, please, contact me and I will make sure he or she gets a Bible of their very own, “…and all the earth may know there is a God…” (1 Samuel 17:46, KJV).
My goal is to help kids like me, and I want to help their parents, too. Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!