Proposal to Include a Developmental Trauma Disorder Diagnosis for Children and Adolescents in DSM-V

By TLC
Posted on October 28, 2013, in Grief and Trauma

The goal of introducing the diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder is to capture the reality of the clinical presentations of children and adolescents exposed to chronic interpersonal trauma and thereby guide clinicians to develop and utilize effective interventions and for researchers to study the neurobiology and transmission of chronic interpersonal violence. Whether or not they exhibit symptoms of PTSD, children who have developed in the context of ongoing danger, maltreatment, and inadequate caregiving systems are ill-served by the current diagnostic system, as it frequently leads to no diagnosis, multiple unrelated diagnoses, an emphasis on behavioral control without recognition of interpersonal trauma and lack of safety in the etiology of symptoms, and a lack of attention to ameliorating the developmental disruptions that underlie the symptoms. What follows are our proposed diagnostic criteria, a brief review of published and unpublished data, rationale and assessment of the reliability and validity data which bear upon this topic, as well as the justification for meeting the criteria for creating a new diagnosis in the DSM V.

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