PostTraumatic Stress Disorder Essay Research Paper PostTraumatic

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Essay, Research Paper

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition from which nearly 10% of

Americans suffer. It, unlike other afflictions, is associated with a wide

variety of circumstances. Many war veterans suffer from Posttraumatic Stress

Disorder. However, a new group of people are quickly emerging as common suffers

of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-sexually abused children. Posttraumatic Stress

Disorder is a prevalent problem associated with children who are victims of

sexual assault.

Post traumatic Stress Disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder

under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders (DSM-III). The

diagnoses for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder was not formally diagnosed as part

of DSM-III until 1980. According to Famolaro, “the diagnoses of Posttraumatic

Stress Disorder requires: (a) experience of a significant traumatic events; (b)

re-experiencing of the trauma in one of several different thought, emotional, or

behavioral forms; (d) persistent symptoms of increased arousal, Particularly

when exposedto stimuli concretely or symbolically reminiscent of the trauma; (e)

symptoms lasting at least one month. (Famolaro, Maternal and Child Post

traumatic… 28)”.

Children are now becoming realized as significant sufferers of

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is particularly

bad for children under the age of 11, because they lack many of the skills

needed to protect themselves. Furthermore, this vulnerability is enhanced when

the child is exposed to any maltreatment. According to recent studies,

“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a common sequella of severe or chronic

maltreatment of children, particularly among sexually maltreated children (

Famularo, Symptom Differences… 28)”. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder can be

caused if the child is exposed to just one traumatic episode (rape, witnessing a

violent crime, physical abuse); However, the child will become more susceptible

to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder if the maltreatment continues. Moreover, a

child is most likely to suffer from symptoms associated with Posttraumatic

Stress Disorder when sexual assault is involved(28).

Because children have not yet developed cognitively emotionally and are

very immature, they are likely candidates to develop symptoms related to

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. As a child matures he/she becomes better

equipped to deal with and prevent contributing factors to the eventual suffering

from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Up to age two, young children can recreate

stressful events and even imagine such events recurring; However, the mind is

not developed enough to identify, anticipate, or prevent future traumatic

occurrences. At age three, children cannot, “distance themselves, in time,

appreciate roles and differences in behavior, access situation, or adopt

nonegocentric causality (Saigh 189)”. This flaw opens them up to the impact of

trauma because the child cannot anticipate and protect themselves. By age four,

children have the ability to protect themselves by avoiding traumatic encounters.

They also have the ability to suppress their anxiety when it becomes difficult

to cope with. Because children do not have this ability any earlier they are

vulnerable to physical and sexual assault. Children continue as such until they

become concrete operational at about age six or seven (190).

Children who have been sexually abused develop many of the syndromes

associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, some of which are, the inability

to establish normal relationships with adults and peers, to make a normal

transition from adolescence to adulthood, as well as to develop skills required

to progress in school. However, this was not the case with all sexually

assaulted children. Walder states, “not all those so exposed will develop a

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder reaction; some may have a certain “hardiness” that

helps them cope without any noticeable residual effects while others may have a

severe psychological reaction that renders them unable to function (Walker



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