PTSD as an Outcome of Childhood Abuse

Posted by in child abuse, Louise Behiel, Sexual Abuse | 74 comments

Originally, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was recognized and diagnosed in returning war veterans.  Now, it is recognized as an outcome from a traumatic situation. In fact, new research postulates that PTSD can result from events that may not seem too severe.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association V5, has refined the diagnostic criteria of PTSD, but it now lists two sets of criteria – one for anyone over six and another for children under 6. This confirms that PTSD can occur in very young children and results in symptoms strong enough to be observed and measured.  If you have time to spare, feel free to read about the new criteria here.

For all of us, a traumatic event has some natural repurcussions. When our sense of safety is shattered, it’s normal to feel numb, or disconnected, depressed or ‘out of control’. Bad dreams, obsessive thoughts about the experience and overwhelming fear are all normal reactions to events that are beyond our normal life.  For most people, these feelings are short-lived and gradually dissipate. With PTSD, the feelings don’t lift and get worse with time. And since you feel ‘crazy’ you are not likely to talk to anyone about the event or your emotional reactions.

Children who experience trauma may lack the vocabulary to express what happened, may not be believed if they speak out or may have been told it’s their fault.  Latest research shows that abuse and/or trauma affect brain development, causing structural abnormalities in the frontal lobe, home to our emotions. Over time, these changes in the brain may result in personality deficits if not recognized and treated. (See http://www.upliftprogram.com/article_ptsd.html)

To diagnose PTSD there must be the presence or threat of a traumatic event, experienced or observed. It can also occur from hearing about a friend’s experience or observation. It is common in those who are exposed to the details of such events (police officers, firemen and paramedics reading reports).

While everyone experiences PTSD differently (and the DSM – V has more detailed criteria), there are three main symptoms:

1.  Flashbacks (re-experiencing the traumatic event): The re-living of traumatic events in the moment.  They can be precipitated by an external event (the sound of footsteps in the hall) or a jogged memory.  They feel ‘crazy’ and disorienting because of ‘feeling’ back in that moment in time.  To work thru them, remind yourself that you are an adult and are safe now. Breathe slowly but naturally. Consciously slow down your alarm response. Sometimes wrapping yourself in a blanket or holding a pillow can help.  If you’re in public, grab hold of something, (a chair or a desk) plant your feet firmly on the ground and take a couple of deep breaths, and remind yourself that you are an adult, you are in a safe place and that all is well.

Bad memories can also occur as bad dreams.  If they occur regularly, remind yourself before you go to sleep, that should a bad dream occur, you will wake up immediately.  (This will take practice but can be learned.) Then follow the suggestions above to soothe and calm yourself.

 2.  Avoiding reminders of the trauma – At its simplest, PTSD is the ‘storing away’ of bad memories which are too difficult to assimilate, integrate and release.  Because we need to deal with them, they pop up, usually at inopportune times.  From the desire (Conscious or sub-conscious) to keep the memories at bay sufferers may try to avoid reminders of the trauma.  So they won’t go near a specific house, or will avoid certain types of people. Or will only sleep in locked rooms or high windows.  Making love in certain positions may cause panic attacks. Ditto for the shower hitting your face. 

 The list is endless and applies to the person’s need to feel safe and avoid the memories.  Ironically, often there is no knowledge of why I can only sleep in a room with a locked door, but that’s my truth and so I live that way. 

Most of us have seen TV programs where a car backfiring throws a veteran into a flashback.  But this is not necessarily the only type of trigger.  For abuse survivors, triggers are often more personal and less obvious.  I regularly hear from clients who can’t sleep in their parents’ home or at grandma’s house.  The smell of a barn or a new vehicle can be triggers.  As they try to avoid any stimulus that might trigger their memories, the risk is that their world becomes smaller and smaller.  And they get more and more stuck in the drive to keep the memories at bay. And worst of all, along with this symptom is the inability to remember the original trauma.

 3. Increased anxiety and emotional arousal: Over time, clients with PTSD often have trouble falling asleep, or once asleep, they can’t stay asleep.  Or if they do sleep, it is a light, shallow sleep that is not restorative. Sufferers are usually hyper vigilant – they know where everyone is around them, all the time.  I had a client who could empty a handful of change from his pocket, along with all the other paraphernalia men carry, and seemingly drop it on the nightstand.  He could always tell if any of it had been moved – even 24 hours later! This kind of vigilance consumes lots of energy and is exhausting.  It exacerbates the lack of sleep. 

Many people with PTSD have an exaggerated startle effect, so a slamming door will be much more jarring to them.  Usually they are more sensitive to noise (banging plates as the table is set) and loud voices.  And because of their heightened state of awareness, they may have trouble concentrating.  Often misdiagnosed as ADHD, PTSD clients do not find relief with the drugs or therapies for that syndrome because the cause is different.

If you consider a person who isn’t getting enough sleep, who is easily startled and who is always aware of what is going on around them (by the way, they often have amazing peripheral vision), what would be the expected outcome?  You got it!  Irritability and a bad temper are common in PTSD sufferers.  But when considered in the context of PTSD, anger and irritability are perfectly logical outcomes.

Not everyone who is sexually abused gets PTSD, but it is very common.  It begins from a need to put the originating trauma at a distance, but ironically creates many problems.  It is treatable with therapy and occasionally, medication.

Remember the rules of this blog: No diagnosis.  But if some of these symptoms match your experience, contact a mental health professional who can help you determine what’s going on and start you on the road to healing.

Additional information came from: http://www.upliftprogram.com/article_ptsd.html and

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm

Questions? Comments?  Did this raise the hair on the back of your head?  Let me know and I’ll repond.

74 Comments

  1. but im scared i stayednon mynroom todayhonestly whgat can i do

  2. but im scared i stayednon mynroom today

  3. i have experjenced ssxuxl abhze as a chkkd i cam remeneber alitoftheseexpetinces and canm remenevers my sister touching liciking anx i am ony 15 and am in foster xare however have never been told why but i guess i have founs oyut. however at.the shoppingncenrltre kast month i was raped by an older man. jusf thusmirning i took a pregnancy test and appeared pregnant what in earth am i mwant ti tell my fister parents social worker and everyone at school?

    • there is nothing i can say on the we to help you work through this experience. Please talk to one of the adults around you so you can make good choices about your way forward.

      • io dont no wot do

  4. i have experjenced ssxuxl abhze as a chkkd i cam remeneber alitoftheseexpetinces and canm remenevers my sister touching liciking anx
    d kjsssing my vagina it is the exact same with my prents however j can remeneber my dad inseeting his penis inti my vagina .

  5. When I was 6-9 I was molwsted by a family friend named Hugo whom I bought was my uncle, I later found out he molested my two older brother as well.
    He would come in at night and penetrate me and make me perform oral.
    By the age of 12 I was kidnapped by a man for a week and was forced to perform sex acts on him and his friends. I’ve never told anyone about that.
    At he age of 17 I was raped in a park and made reports and later dated a man whom I fell in love with and I found out I was pregnant I thought it was his until one day we got a paternity test and it wasn’t his I then knew My child was a product of rape. I deal with depression and anxiety daily, how could I not thinking that night as I a possibility, I don’t know what to do to feel bette to love my baby but it’s so hard like what will I tell him when he’s older and asks about his dad. Even worse what do I tell people when they ask me about his father?

    • These are very complicated questions and you have had a very hard life. Unfortunately, once a child is molested, subsequent abuse and rape are more common than the norm.

      please find a qualified experienced therapist who can help you deal with the trauma of your life and help you figure out the answers to your questions. they are very complicated issues and you deserve help in making good decisions.

      good luck

  6. I have barely any memories of my childhood also up to about age 12 and the ones that I do remember are only with my grandma and aunt and uncle who apparently took care of me mostly until my mom got remarried when I was 12 I have no memories of being cared for by my mother and anything I remember with my dad i remember trying to stay out of his way and not make him angry and I have vague flash memories of bad things that I experiences and my aunt has verified but my mom denies and now as an adult I married an abusive alcoholic and have been diagnosed with adhd and ptsd but lately more memories have been coming back and I have been real up n down with my emotions I feel so much inside that I want to get out but no One to understand me there’s so many things that make me not normal even though I have good intentions and I try yet I always screw up

    • I am sorry you’re having so many problems. there are many possible reasons for not remembering much if anything from your childhood. but it sounds like there are many other issues you’re dealing with as well. All I can recommend is the same old thing, work with a qualified, experienced therapist who can help you deal with these issues. sounds like you might have done this already, though

      good luck

  7. I have a nice childhood memories with someone I loved and never answered me I missed him so much I know that it was beautiful day I always know exactly what I really feel that way when I was standing next to him I tried to make his life very special to him and I did is my fault because I loved him a lot and is important to him about this childhood relationship with him and I will keep him safe and sound like that is better than me

    • if you’re having symptoms of PTSD be sure to get help from a trained therapist. there’s wonderful therapies to make your life better.

  8. I am 25 years old. I don’t remeber anything from childhood; except for few moments. People around me tell me stories of what I used to do, but I dont remeber anything.
    Of the moments I remeber, most of them are sad memories of me being alone or screamed by my aunts or my uncles. I don’t remeber anything that represents happyness. I don’t remeber anything up to the age of 12 or 13.

    I was brought up in house where my uncles and my aunts live together. Think of it as 15 people living in the same house. My parapets were divorced when I was only 1 year old. My mother lived in the same house.
    I didn’t have a normal structure of a normal family. There was a lot of fighting between them and lots of shouting. I didn’t have the chance to go out to malls or anything. I only went outside the house once or twice a week. I remeber when I was 9 years old, I was showing my aunt that I cleaned my closet and I was very proud of myself. Except that she got angry because it was not cleaned in the way wanted it. I really hate that moment, even though it is a simple situation, the effect is still hard for me; my mother was married at that time and wasn’t living with us.

    It was like being brought up in a house where u were a ball that was being played with. My sister was tougher than me and I don’t know how she handled it but we really barely talk about. I know from the inside that she resent it, and still hold grudges against them. I visited my dad 4-5 times a year up to the age of 19. I don’t remember very well, but it was when I was 6-7 years old and my step brother who was at that time 14 years old called me to his room. He told me to lay down, and he started to rub his hands on my private part over my jeans. I remeber he was grinding it them. I never told anyone, and I think because of that I sepressed that memory. I don’t rember the details.

    I really hated my childhood. It was a chaos childhood. My parents were not present, I was controlled by more than 6 Poeple. I have never had a male – father figure in my life. I have never had friends. I tried to end my life twice in a house full of poeple and no one even noticed it! Now, almost all of those poeple are gone out of house and me and my sister and my grandmother are left. I really resent them of making my childhood miserable. They all left and started a new happy life with thier families and left us with all those sarrow moments.
    Even though I went Through hell, I manged to do very well at school and graduated as the top student from my high school.
    I never felt secured, I always and still have the feeling of insecurity. I fear a lot from the future. When I compare my life with my current friends life, I realiz that I have missed a lot from childhood and that even brings more sarrow.
    I block poeple from my life. My current friend who I have been knowing for the last 6 years doesn’t know that my parents are even divorced. I block poeple from anything. I show simple feelings for daily interactions, but I really never let poeple in. I guess I try to protect myself from getting hurt again.

    I don’t know if any of this explain why I have very little memories for the first 13-14 years of life. Sometimes, I feel I was alive at that time.

    • when we grow up in chaos, sometimes the only way we can escape is by doing well at the outside world, as you did with school. it is important that you work with a therapist so that you can heal all the junk that was done to you. when you are raised in chaos, it creates all kinds of problems and a professional can help you figure it out and more importantly heal it. good luck. it’s your turn. Don’t let that family take anything more from you

  9. So what should i do then? She sais that she told me beause i care, but a professional listens her and doesn’t care about what she says…. What should i tell her? Even if everything seems ok it could not be? Painful periods can be a sign of childhood abuse ? She tells me that it hurts a lot , she also bleeds a lot.
    Thank you a lot! I really apreciate your help!

    • I really can’t give you specific advice. talk to a qualified experienced professional. there are many potential causes of painful periods and most of them are medical reasons. She needs to start with a physician and go from there.

  10. She seems like she’s got over it, she tells me that when i touch her down there, she sees the image of what happenned but she told me that since she is with me , things got better (she used to feel worse when i touched her). She also said that i’m the only one to know it, not even her mother knows it, and that she can’t tell this to someone else…
    We are both 18 ,last highschool year, she is african and i am white.
    What can i do to help her get over it? We are living in France

    • unfortunately for both of you, this is a personal journey for her. You can walk beside her, hold her hand, encourage and support her, but she needs the help of a professional to work through all the issues that come up with sexual abuse. And they will come up. We seem to be able to cope and manage until something happens. We get married, pregnant, have a baby, turn 40…something triggers the whole problem for most of us and then we can function until the issue is resolved. it would be a shame that something that was done to her as a child should steal her adulthood. ironically, she probably wouldn’t have trouble talking about being hit by a car. Emotionally, that’s what sexual abuse is…we get hit with something too big and too ugly to handle.

      good luck to both of you

  11. My girlfriend told me that she has been raped at the age of 7.it happened when we were getting close to sex…
    What should i do?

    • Encourage her to see a professional qualified therapist and hold her hand. it’s a scary process but needs the assistance of a trained professional for healing. good luck to both of you.

      • She seems like she’s got over it, she tells me that when i touch her down there, she sees the image of what happenned but she told me that since she is with me , things got better (she used to feel worse when i touched her). She also said that i’m the only one to know it, not even her mother knows it, and that she can’t tell this to someone else…
        We are both 18 ,last highschool year, she is african and i am white.
        What can i do to help her get over it? We are living in France

  12. Lots oc great info. Mt daughter in love feels she has been molested by father and is repressing it. What is the first thing her counselor should be doing?

    • I couldn’t begin to answer this question – there are too many variables. the most important things are to get an experienced therapist who is skilled at working with childhood sexual abuse. Ask questions before you commit to the treatment and be sure. and then know that success in therapy is determined by the level of trust of the client in the therapist. with trust, success is almost a given, but it starts there.

      good luck

  13. I was diagnosed a while back with PTSD from growing up in a verbally, mentally and physically abusive alcoholic home. A lot of secrecy and all that good stuff. Well, I started going to aalanon a few years back, therapy and it has made wonderful changes in my life. I have lost a lot of my resentments and worked the steps. This past December I was diagnosed with ADHD and have been taking medication for it which greatly improved my depression and concentration… I do however have a question…

    I feel the medication has helped me focus better but I think it might have given me tunnel vision. My emotions were a lot more controllable but somewhat bland… which for me, was really nice. Well, the past month I have noticed depression symptoms creeping back in due to life circumstances. Both from family and other things. Last week, my entire body shut down. I feel like I am paralyzed, numb, takes a great deal of energy to speak. I feel like I damn near put myself into a coma. Does this happen to people with PTSD?

    I didn\’t think I was being affected by everything going on but I guess I was…? Wondering if there\’s a reason from PTSD that can cause someone later in life to subconsciously shut down their entire body?

    Thank you very much.

  14. I was diagnosed a while back with PTSD from growing up in a verbally, mentally and physically abusive alcoholic home. A lot of secrecy and all that good stuff. Well, I started going to aalanon a few years back, therapy and it has made wonderful changes in my life. I have lost a lot of my resentments and worked the steps. This past December I was diagnosed with ADHD and have been taking medication for it which greatly improved my depression and concentration… I do however have a question…

    I feel the medication has helped me focus better but I think it might have given me tunnel vision. My emotions were a lot more controllable but somewhat bland… which for me, was really nice. Well, the past month I have noticed depression symptoms creeping back in due to life circumstances. Both from family and other things. Last week, my entire body shut down. I feel like I am paralyzed, numb, takes a great deal of energy to speak. I feel like I damn near put myself into a coma. Does this happen to people with PTSD?

    I didn’t think I was being affected by everything going on but I guess I was…? Wondering if there’s a reason from PTSD that can cause someone later in life to subconsciously shut down their entire body?

    Thank you very much.

    • Not that I am aware of. Please be sure to see your doctor or prescribing professional and talk about your symptoms. sometimes the very medications that help soothe us can cause long term effects on us emotionally. I wouldn’t guess about your situation, but I know that none of us can coast through experiences without emotion. So talk to some of your experts and handle your health carefully. You’ve survived some of the worst that life has to give us as children, so don’t let them win…get what you need to live a successful life. and that’s not shutting down. Good luck and keep us posted.

      • Thanks so much, Louise. I appreciate your fast response. It’s funny how ‘one day at a time’ is easy with my medication and yet other things build without me noticing. An experience I have taken much from without a doubt.

        • Paying attention to all the details and streams of life is a challenge, isn’t it? take care of yourself.

  15. Eli Lilly made $65 billion on the Zyprexa franchise.Lilly was fined $1.4 billion for Zyprexa fraud!
    The atypical antipsychotics (Zyprexa,Risperdal,Seroquel) are like a ‘synthetic’ Thorazine,only they cost ten times more than the old fashioned typical antipsychotics.
    These newer generation drugs still pack their list of side effects like diabetes for the user.All these drugs work as so called ‘major tranquilizers’.This can be a contradiction with PTSD suffers as we are hyper vigilant and feel uncomfortable with a drug that puts you to sleep and makes you sluggish.
    That’s why drugs like Zyprexa don’t work for PTSD survivors like myself.
    -Daniel Haszard FMI http://www.zyprexa-victims.com

    • thanks so much for the information on drug treatment for PTSD.

  16. This is just a theory I have, but… adults who were abused as children are more likely to get involved in abusive relationships as adults. However, adult abuse victims are revictimized by a society and a psychotherapy industry that places the blame for ‘accepting abuse’ on the victim, and doesn’t ‘punish’ the abuser. Domestic Violence is more often than not considered a ‘civil matter’, and when an woman with an abusive husband seeks shelter, she is treated as though she needs to be held to a curfew because she can’t make proper choices as evidenced by the fact that she ‘allowed’ this man to abuse her. I believe that this injustice is a major cause of PTSD associated with abuse.

    • You raise some good points but I don’t completely agree with everything you’ve said Vanessa. Childhood abuse victims tend to swing either toward abusive partners or totally away from them. I have clients who have never been in a relationship because they’re afraid of who they’d choose (not healthy but common). there are also victims who become abusers. I don’t know of a single therapist who would blame the victim. Usually victims come to me feeling responsible – that they asked for it, somehow. I see a big part of my job with those clients is to help them move from responsibility to accepting they were victimized. but there are all kinds of therapists out there and not all of them agree with me. but I’d never recommend one who blamed the victim. I can’t speak to women being in shelters because I don’t work with that population. However, most of the people I know who work with abused women know that their biggest challenge is to get the woman to stay away from her abuser. the sense of responsibility for the abuse, the conditioning that the violence has perpetrated on the victim and probably her background make leaving a very hard decision. staying gone is even harder. But once the decision has been made, it’s the most dangerous time for the victim – going back may cost them their life.

      thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your opinions. we totally agree that abuse is a cause of PTSD – regardless of where it happens or by whom.

  17. Forgot to add that the Red Book of Adult Children of Alcoholics (and Dysfunctional Families) addresses PTSD in some of the kid from those families. Likely most of us.

    • I’ll have to read that part of the book. thanks for the info

  18. I’ve been Dxd with PTSD before. In fact, I have layers of it from various life events – not the least of which is some of my long-term exposure in child protective services. A lot of folks in emergency services work end up with PTSD from the traumas they deal with every day. Some of it resolves, but the issues with sleeping require meds and the hyper-alert thing is probably going to be with me for life. Not all bad. I’m hard to sneak up on even though I have major hearing problems. And despite the major hearing problems a loud, abrupt sound I can hear is likely to send me through the roof. I bet you also find most of us are safety conscious as well.

    Kristy, I’ve used a variety of things to deal with various PTSD issues. I’ve tried EFT (works if you do it all the time, works better with a trained EFT therapist). NLP (It is the granddaddy of EFT and works better but is very expensive). I’ve done desensitization work on some issues – batiks and the empty chair – gestalt thing on others. Overall, if it didn’t cost so bloody much I’d say a highly skilled Neurolinguistic Programmer like like Richard Bandler is the best investment. Takes little time, keep the memory/lesson and lose the trauma. Of course, if we figure in therapy time over years then paying a few thousand for a desensitization quick fix over a short period of time pretty much equals out. You can read the book, “Using Your Mind For a Change” and see what you think.

    • Our provincial government has just authorized our Workers Compensation to include PTSD for first responders as a covered injury from work. it’s about time, although we’re the first province in canada to do that.

      • That’s good to hear. Part of my disability retirement was due to PTSD issues that were not covered by Worker’s Compensation. Lots of hard-core child protection workers go down in flames from severe PTSD.

        • yes, it’s a very good thing. I was shocked it wasn’t a standard coverage for those workers but apparently it’s not in Canada. what about the US?

          • Not as far as I am aware. The government is hard pressed to admit the work is so nightmarish that workers should probably be in weekly therapy to deal with the trauma. I always felt that my work was some of the most critical and under recognized. Few can do it long

  19. Thank you again for such a wonderfully resourceful post! Love the WANA logo btw 😉

    • Glad you found it resourceful, Ingrid. thx for stopping by

  20. I have dealt with some things in my life that likely caused some degree of PTSD, but was only diagnosed after the car accident. Unfortunately, due to several therapies at the same time, I never followed through with what the doctor recommended. Partly because I just couldn’t deal with anything else at the time…and partly because it sounded a little ridiculous. Have you ever heard of ‘tapping’ as a way to overcome it?

    • Kristy, I know people who swear by ‘tapping’, otherwise known as Emotional Freedom Technique. I tried a time or two (after a blog somewhere) with little success (are you surprised?). so I can’t recommend it, but some people love it.

      • LOL…glad I didn’t waste my time on it then. Although I still tend to get a little (sometimes a LOT) nervous at intersections, worried that someone else might run a red light or stop sign, it’s not bad enough that I’d seek treatment for it. Your post just reminded me of it and I thought I’d ask.

        Someday you’ll have to explain how, exactly, it’s supposed to work, because the explanations I got three and a half years ago just made it sound weird. 🙂

  21. Actually, it’s not just “PTSD” – it’s “C-PTSD” as defined by the DSM “no perceivable escape” – because what child can escape their childhood? I know as a child my brother and I figured out there was no escape – none at all – forever (or at least until we grew up). Here’s some blog entries I wrote on exactly this sort of subject:
    http://jeffssong.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/childhood-ptsd-unrecognized-undertreated
    http://jeffssong.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/c-ptsd-and-me
    and to give a child’s view of that world of “C-PTSD” –
    http://jeffssong.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/nowhere-to-run-nowhere-to-hide

    Hope this helps you and others on defining this all important – and too long ignored subject of Childhood PTSD as well as Childhood C-PTSD – since it appears I’ve gone through it.

    • thanks for the clarification. the DSM -V did not specify the difference but I’m sure it will in the final version.

      • 🙂 I think the folks who are developing those definitions just haven’t considered the consequences of childhood and abuse and the inability for a child to escape – it’s taken them *this* long to even consider applying a “PTSD” label to a childhood trauma! And the thing is: labels don’t cure someone. They just help others to understand, albeit a bit; not much.

  22. Louise, I’m really enjoying your thoughtful posts. Thank you for letting SavvyAuthors subscribers know they’re available. I wouldn’t have found you otherwise. I have a question that you might or might not have an answer for. How does PTSD affect the Amygdala? Does such an affect complicate treatment outcomes?

    • Terrel, I love SavvyAuthors – what a great group. You haven’t asked an easy question and I need to qualify my response by saying I’m not a brain specialist but here’s what I understand: When we are frightened, the brain kicks out lots of hormones to trigger fight or flight. they in turn affect the Amygdala and cause us to remember those events more clealry. Way back when, that would have been a survival technique but now…not so much. But it is part of why we hold onto fearful memories for so long. The other thing that is becoming clear is that these traumatic events actually change the structure of the brain – for both adults and children. If recognized soon enough, those changes can be reversed by healing the PTSD but if not, they may be permanent. HOw’s that for a long answer to a short question? if I’ve confused you, let me know and I’ll take another run at it.

      cheers

  23. Thanks for an interesting post.
    It is interesting to see that the criterias are changing, and I believe (haven’t checked though) that Complex PTSD will enter the hierarchy of related diagnoses, and be a more important subject for future research. How to heal, is an even more interesting subject 🙂

    • from your post to the funding agencies who determine what research is done. And healing is even more interesting. I totally agree.

  24. Your posts are so insightful, Louise. Very sad, though, when I think of so many people dealing with this condition. It’s hard to fathom children having to deal with such horrible circumstances. Thankfully there are people like you who are there to help them. 🙂

    • It is tragic, Lynn. I totally agree it should never happen but …

  25. Fascinating and insightful.

  26. Reading your blog is research for the next book in the series I’m working on. My wounded heroine fits right into everything you’ve been saying.

    As always, very good information.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • that is wonderful news, Pat. thanks for letting me know.

  27. Another excellent post Louise. I think that PTSD can also really affect the spouses and families of the sufferers. In a way, its like alcoholism. If the husband can’t sleep, then neither can the wife. If the dad can’t sleep and is miserable, then the kids feel like there is something wrong with them. Dad doesn’t like any of them, let alone anyone best. For so many of the boomer generation, Dad came home from the war changed, withdrawn and angry. Mom was always exhausted and depressed. And the kids learn to be careful and silent.

    Even if the kids reach a level of understanding and forgiveness, how do they learn to enjoy life? I am interested in your thoughts Louise.

    • Very good questions, Amy Jo. Obviously, I think the children and mom and dad need to do therapy of some sort. PTSD has some wonderful medical outcomes now with drugs, therapy and mindfulness training. Sometimes, it’s too late for the vets – PTSD is most successfully treated in the early stages – the sooner the better. But for the children, these leanred behaviors can be overturned and overcome. again, it takes time and energy but it is possible. I know that because I’ve worked with a few of them.

      totally heartbreaking Amy Jo. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Wonderful info here. This will be especially helpful as I am getting ready to write a story with a character who has PTSD or thinks he does.

    • wonderful news, Jennette. So glad this will be helpful.

  29. Great post.

  30. This is really helpful to me. I’ve thought for awhile that I had PTSD. It’s something to look into.

    • If there’s any chance, see a therapist and find out. it’s just not worth living with when help is available. Good luck.

  31. The Foothills Hospital in Calgary (and likely most large urban hospitals) have a fabulous program to deal with the sleep issues that may be caused by PTSD, including nightmare therapy and re-training your sleep habits. It is a long process but so worth it for a peaceful life and restful nights of sleep. Louise, you are filling such a huge need in bringing these issues into the light and encouraging people to seek help rather than just ‘putting up with’ conditions like PTSD. Thanks.

    • thanks for the additional information, Brenda. Much appreciated. I’m glad it works so well. and I’m sure similar programs are available across the continent.

  32. Fantastic insight and information as always, Louise! And once again, I’m reminded of people I know. How do people with PTSD overcome that hyper-vigilance that interferes with sleep? (Do they??)

    • They do recover, August, but it’s a long slow process. For severe sufferers, medication is available. But for those who odn’t choose to use meds, then meditation, relaxation tapes and warm herbal tea help. All in combination with Therapy to get the memories out and exposed to an adult’s point of view.

  33. Thanks, Louise. Another fascinating blog.

    • thx for stopping by, Roxy

      • Hi, I just came across your information about PSTD and I would love to talk with you. The comment you made about , their world getting smaller and smaller so it’s getting harder to keep the memories at bay , really really hit home!! Please email me at tonbillty@yahoo.com, Thank you
        Tonya recently posted..New Year: New Lessons About Alzheimer’s DiseaseMy Profile

        • Tonya, I do not work individually with people anymore, but I can encourage you to get the help you need from a qualified, experienced therapist in your local area.

          good luck

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