Post Traumatic Stress Disorder versus Adopted Child Syndrome

Post traumatic stress disorder and adopted child syndrome similarly explain the psychological trauma that may result from exposure to a severely distressing event. Post traumatic stress disorder is an intense psychological condition that develops after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, including death and separation from family and loved ones. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms continue after the traumatic incident, such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and high levels of anxiety. Abnormalities may be diagnosed as subjective, chronic, relapsing or remitting. In all cases, health care providers should be alert to the presence of a distortion of normal feelings and behavior.

Post traumatic stress disorder | Adopted Child Syndrome

Homesickness, the loss of a birth parent, unrequited love, broken heartedness, and post traumatic stress disorder are deeply rooted in the mind of the patient, but difficult for anyone other than a psychologist to diagnose. The insecure patient stifles their normal curiosity because they sense the adopted parents’ anxiety, and feel a pattern of tension and an ominous pressure against voicing their feelings. Many adoptees hope to heal the wound caused by the separation by reliving the life that was lost at the time of separation to provide a more solid base for their lives, but fearing to know why they were abandoned by the birth parents, and knowing that the adoptive parents would feel their interest in the birth parents was disloyal, the adopted child experiences a dread of the truth.

Severing the connection with the birth mother is a stressful incident that traumatizes the primitive instincts of the adopted child; an occurrence that may lead to a severe psychological condition referred to as the the primal wound. When the effects are chronic there is substantial evidence from many sources that the non-relative adopted child is more prone to higher levels of anxiety and emotional difficulties. There has been consistent evidence of morbidity of various types in adopted adolescents and adoptive families are more likely to seek help for their distress. Evidence in the statistical record highlights an abnormally high percentage of adoptees exhibiting anti-social behavior. On the behavioral level, examples include problems in human bondingattachment disorder, antisocial behavior and oppositional defiant disorder as indicative warnings trending toward an antisocial pattern. Adopted child syndrome is a term most commonly used to explain behaviors in adopted children that are claimed to be related to their adoptive status. Other terms used to diagnose and describe the behavior of orphaned, fostered and adopted children are genealogical bewilderment, oppositional defiant disorder, selective mutism, and other anti-social behaviors.

Post traumatic stress disorder, adopted child syndrome, and the primal wound don’t technically qualify in medical terms as syndromes because the signs and symptoms are psychological and subjective, the observed condition and the cause and effect aren’t clear, and the relationship is not measurable. In medicine, a syndrome is based on clinically quantifiable terms where the cause and effect have a clear relationship that is noticeable. A symptom is defined as a feature which is noticed by the patient. A sign is a condition noticed by others. High blood pressure and diabetes resulting from physical or medical conditions may produce fatigue, nausea, malaise, anorexia, mental disorders, and quantifiable weight loss, but these medical conditions may also be signs of chronic fatigue syndrome and deep rooted psychological issues.

When diagnosis of the signs and symptoms and the underlying cause and effect are judged to be of a subjective nature they may not be accurately diagnosed because they cannot be measured in medical terms. The patient suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, the primal wound, sorrow, grief and bereavement may be ignored because the signs and symptoms are psychological and not medically quantifiable. Adopted parents faced with diagnosing feelings, emotions and behaviors in their adopted child classified as social withdrawal, apathy, inability to experience pleasure, antisocial behavior, defects in attention control and failure to thrive have difficulty identifying symptoms that cannot be measured directly. For that reason, they may fail to recognize the signs or the severity of the cause, and when the patient avoids telling others about their symptoms, the relationship between the two remains unclear. When stress and anxiety rise to a high level, the patient may eventually exhibit destructive behavior directed toward self, family or society—only then is the problem accurately diagnosed.

Contact Judith Land | Judith Land Blog

Adoption Detective | Memoir of an Adopted Child | Judith Land

Detective Adopción | Memorias de un niño adoptado | Parenting & Relationships

采纳侦探|回忆录收养的孩子 | 입양 형사 | 입양 된 자녀의 회고록

Thông qua Thám | Hồi ký của một trẻ em đã được thông qua

About Judith Land

Judith Land lives in Colorado and Arizona with husband and coauthor Martin Land. Judith is a former nurse, retail shop owner, college instructor and avid outdoor person. Her book "Adoption Detective: Memoir of an Adopted Child" is a true story detailing the journey of Judith Romano, foster child and adoptee, as she discovers fragments of her background, and then sets out to solve the mystery as an adult. She has reached readers in 192 countries. "Mothers and fathers everywhere in the world need to understand that children are forever and always." --Judith Land
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42 Responses to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder versus Adopted Child Syndrome

  1. Pingback: Adoption—what’s in it for the social worker? | Adoption Detective | A Novel By Judith Land

  2. Childcare Proceedings Exposed says:

    Reblogged this on .

  3. Pingback: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder verses Adopted Child Syndrome - Los Angeles Based Somatic Experiencing Practitioner

  4. Pingback: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder verses Adopted Child Syndrome | canadianbanishedmother

  5. I reblogged too. Excellent post.

  6. Reblogged this on No Punishment without Crime or Bereavement without Death! and commented:
    Now you can learn it from a real expert: about the ‘primal wound’ of severance from birth mother and all the anti-social behaviour possibly stemming from adoptions.

  7. truthaholics says:

    Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    Proportional interference + wag the dog: This shows why the state must only sever birth ties as a matter of last – never first – resort.

  8. Pingback: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder verses Adopted Child Syndrome - Los Angeles Based Somatic Experiencing Practitioner

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  25. 5288chandler says:

    Reblogged this on fromtheheartx2.

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  29. Rudy Owens says:

    Do people really have confidence in members of the mental health profession to provide value to persons who are adopted? This is a profession that routinely stigmatized birth mothers and adoptees for decades, a profession that continues to use expressions in the DSM that can be used to brand adoptees who want to know their past as having a disorder, and a profession whose members have not once apologized for the harm they have cause by promoting kook, jumbled ideas NOT rooted in rigorous science or facts as we understand facts to be demonstrated by the scientific method. Blah blah syndrome, blah blah blah disorder. When one of these “professionals” or the APA make a formal apology to adoptees and birth mothers, I might take this nonsense seriously. Right now, its mumbo jumbo from people trying to publish and build their up their own egos and practice. If they actually come out and advocate for open records and meaningful political reform while admitting past wrongs, they might be taken seriously. For now, this is a joke. But please go ahead and keep using these terms. It might build your Google Analytics count.

    • Judith Land says:

      Rudy: How true! Why use a big scientific words coined by academias when a little filthy one will do. In many cases the personal history of an individual is the most important factor for diagnosing psychopathology, including reactive attachment disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); behaviors based on attachment theory. Striving for well-being and making sense of one’s life is at the core of human nature. The development of an identity is a crucial building block for self-esteem, and an adoptee’s struggle to achieve a coherent story is often a daunting task. Library shelves are filled with books on personality, cognitive development, sociology, family studies, anthropology, neuroscience and psychology. Oftentimes, the more we read the more confused we become, especially when unfamiliar or new scientific terms for old recycled issues are used; but in many cases the lasting effects of mother and child separation are enduring and unmistakable, even though they are not always recognizable or quantifiable by outsiders.

  30. Rudy Owens says:

    Not sure about others, but I’m not very confused. I know exactly where I stand. I don’t buy much of the stuff I read about adoptions, with the exception of peer-reviewed studies showing long-term health and public health outcomes that have the strength of science to measure differences with significant P values in populations. The more people talk about “psychology” and its fuzzy wuzzy words and the less we talk about civil rights and discrimination regarding records against a class of Americans (unlike in England, Scotland, etc.), the less likely change occurs. The more time adoptees spend in this orbit of therapy culture, the less likely anyone in the real world will give a rat’s ass. The choice is ours on that front as adoptees. I’ll continue to ignore the therapeauticians. They don’t really do anything to solve real political problems that require real action. They still have a moral duty, however, to step up and say they were dead wrong. Wanna bet they don’t?

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  33. Mary Payne says:

    The original Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) questionnaire was clear. Separation from one or both parents due to abandonment or death was indeed a trauma and, when linked with other traumas, could cause multiple problems for a person throughout the course of his or her life. Then I saw another version of the questionnaire which did not include that question. Do you know why? I have a sneaking suspicion it was to smooth out any talk of the primal wound. Keep up the good work, Judith. I am going to link your post to our Facebook page. — Mary Payne

    • Judith Land says:

      The bond between a mother and her child is the strongest bond found in all of nature. All infants have an instinctive need to stay near their mothers for survival. Scientific studies prove that separation induces severe psychological stress, causes deviations from normal behavior that is predictable, and provides scientific evidence that show the negative effect on the well being of humans and animals. Perhaps, many human troubles would be lessened if the emotional needs of infants and young children were better understood. This applies particularly to attachment needs and the effects of separating human infants from their parents.

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  37. I often wonder how many adoptees have been branded with the dreaded “Borderline Personality Disorder” diagnosis. There is so much overlap between BPD and PTSD as well as a lot of prejudice in the mental health professions against people (mostly women) with the diagnosis. I know this was the case with me.

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