PTSD essentially involves a person ingesting a trauma memory that is so emotionally overwhelming it cannot be processed and grieved normally and instead is just avoided as best as can be managed. The trauma memory does not degrade as normal memories do, but instead stays fresh and intrudes into the traumatized person's awareness in an unwanted, unbidden and very frightening manner.
"Unlike other forms of psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality: 'It is indeed the truth of the traumatic experience that forms the center of its psychopathology; it is not a pathology of falsehood or displacement of meaning, but of history itself" (Caruth, 1995, p. 5).
deVries (1996, p. 409) notes: "The age at which trauma occurs, the social context, and the support and resources available will all influence the outcome."
As reported by J. Kelly, M.A. Birthmother research Project:
That relinquishing a child is a traumatic experience is alluded to over and over again throughout the literature (Barton, 1996; Carlini, 1992; Jones, 1993; Lauderdale & Boyle, 1994; Lifton, 1994; Verrier, 1997). Unresolved grief, guilt, and shame are signatory of many birthmothers (Gediman & Brown, 1991; Lauderdale & Boyle, 1994; Logan, 1996; Stiffler cited in Davidson, 1994)....Van Kepple, Midford and Cicchini (1987, cited in Arthur & Jacobs, 1999) compare the loss of a child by death to the loss of a child through relinquishment and contend that both are significantly traumatic. However, in the former case, there are established outlets for grief reactions; and in the latter, the birthmother "suffers in silence" (p. 17).... Jones (1993) has identified the following traits: unresolved grief, symptoms of PTSD, diminished self-esteem, dual identities, arrested emotional development, self-punishment, unexplained secondary infertility, and living at extremes. Carlini (1992) has defined a set of "core issues of relinquishment" which include: low self-esteem, grieving the loss of the child, forgiving oneself and others, being out of touch with one's feelings, difficulty giving and receiving love, codependency, self-hatred, and dysfunctional sexual problems.
Additionally, Holli Ann Askren MSN, Kathleen C. Bloom, PhD, CNM, “Postadoptive Reactions of the Relinquishing Mother: A Review” Jr. of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, Vol. 28 Issue 4 Pp. 395-400, July 1999:
“The relinquishing mother is at risk for long-term physical, psychological, and social repercussions…. Relinquishing mothers have more grief symptoms than women who have lost a child to death, including more denial; despair, atypical responses; and disturbances in sleep, appetite, and vigor.”Some of the effects of loss of a child to adoption found by Dr. Geoff Rickarby, Member of the Faculty of Child Psychiatry, New South Wales, include:
• Pathological Grief
• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Dysthymia and Major Depression
• Dissociative Disorder
• Panic Disorder (and other anxiety disorders including situation stress
• Alcohol and Prescription Drug Dependent Disorder
• Disorder and incapacity in human relationships
Doctors have treated the symptoms of PTSD with anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. In 2006 Craig Powell, a professor of neurology and psychiatry at UT Southwestern reported: "Corticosterone appears to enhance new memories that compete with the fearful memory thereby decreasing its negative emotional significance,"
A study in the journal Pain Practice reports that Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB), a ten-minute procedure that applies local anesthetic to a bundle of nerves in the neck, proved an effective remedy for this anxiety disorder, potentially offering an alternative to the pharmaceuticals traditionally used to treat the flashbacks, anger, anxiety, and sleep disturbances caused by PTSD. The block has been used for years for pain. when injected into the neck releives nightmares and flashbacks associated with PTSD in soldiers. The effects last six months to a year.
"The way I look at PTSD, it's a biological problem. It's no different than a broken arm," said Dr. Eugene Lipov, medical director at Advanced Pain Center.
The way these injections work is to block the memory of the trauma. This works well for soldiers who have witnessed violence.
Would you trade your PTSD symtoms for loss of memory of the event that caused it? Perhaps forgetting that you relinquished a child? Or that that child even exists?