What’s in a Name? Part 3 – Misdiagnoses/Misunderstandings
By: Julie Beem
The Bipolar diagnosis is equally troubling. Bipolar disorder is very real, and not uncommon for many of our children because many bio parents who are unable to care for their children may have bipolar (or other mental illnesses), so genetically it makes sense that their children may have this as well. But Bipolar shouldn’t be the first diagnosis considered when early childhood trauma and its effect on attachment are much more likely to be the reasons for behaviors, especially for very young children who have been exposed to early childhood trauma.
The Autism spectrum is another diagnosis that can often be confused with early childhood trauma, especially in children exhibiting Developmental Trauma symptoms that can include sensory processing dysfunction, communication lags, and other behaviors associated with other developmental disabilities.
The truth is that abuse and neglect early in a child’s life has a lasting impact on their emotional, behavioral and even physical health. Diagnosticians must recognize the impact of these disorders . Treating PTSD, RAD or DTD involved highly specialized therapies and parenting strategies. Medications and interventions for ADHD, Bipolar or Autism don’t necessarily help our children.
Nothing is sadder to me that a family that’s floundered for years and years, treating their child for a disorder he/she didn’t have and both the parents and child feeling like failures because no one ever mentioned the impact of trauma and attachment.