Developmental Trauma Disorder (Mini-Blog #27)

I not only long for the day that the American Psychological Association includes “Developmental Trauma Disorder” within the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but I also long for the day when PTSD is expanded to included trauma that’s caused by high ACE (adverse childhood experiences [ACEs themselves could be a diagnosis]) scores, spiritual abuse, and trauma that’s caused by experiencing racism, sexism, xenophobia, pandemics, poverty, etc.!

The current DSM5 definition of PTSD is like a periscope: it sees a ship in the ocean (that ship represents the current symptoms of PTSD), but it fails to see that the entire ocean it’s in is trauma and that that ocean is full of symptoms PTSD doesn’t, can’t, or won’t describe!

I work with kids who have incredibly high ACE scores and who are clearly traumatized children who don’t experience even one symptom of PTSD! This is problematic and fails to give me the diagnostic language that describes what these children have endured, are enduring!

Our current scope of trauma is too narrow, too focused, and very misguided! I really hope the APA and the next DSM begin to wrestle with this reality and widen the scope here!

For more on “Developmental Trauma Disorder,” please read “The Body Keeps the Score.” For more on the ACE study, please watch a TedTalk called, “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime!” Thanks for coming to my TEDTalk!

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