Monday, April 1, 2013

The Lingering Trauma of Child Abuse

This article first examines how child abuse is defined. The AHA defines it as "non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, or otherwise harming a child." But the line between physical discipline and child abuse is challenging to define. Many child abusers do not know when their behavior becomes harmful to a child or how to deal with their own overwhelming feelings before losing their tempers.

Any type of child abuse constitutes exploitation of the child's dependence on and attachment to the parent. "Interpersonal victimization" is used in conjunction with the word child abuse. Interpersonal victimization can be defined as harm that comes to individuals because other humans have behaved in ways that violate social norms. Child abuse is not frequently prosecuted and generally handled by social-control agencies.

In some cases, the child may be separated from their parents and grow up in group homes or foster care situations. Further abuse can happen at either of these locations because of the kids around them.

Females are much more likely than males to develop PTSD as a result of child abuse. Some factors that help determine whether a child victim will develop PTSD are: the degree of perceived personal threat, the developmental state of the mind, the relationship of the victim to the perpetrator, the level of support the victim has in his day-to-day life, guilt, resilience, the child's short-term response to the abuse. Trauma usually results when the person is exposed to an inescapably stressful event that overwhelms a person's coping mechanisms.

Some of the symptoms of child PTSD are frequent memories and/or talk of the traumatic event, bad dreams, repeated physical or emotional symptoms whenever teh child is confronted with the event, fear of dying, loss of interest in activities, regular physical complaints such as headaches or stomachaches, extreme emotional reactions, trouble sleeping, irritability, anger, violence, difficulty concentrating, constant or often clingy or whiny behavior and regression to a younger age, increased vigilance or alertness to their environment.

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