NY Newsday: "Complex trauma disorder among youth" should be in DSM

Oct 7, 2017, NY Newsday: Complex trauma disorder among youth needs recognition, experts say Mental health experts are pressing for greater recognition of complex trauma disorder, a common condition among mistreated children and adolescents, with some practitioners asserting it should be included in the leading diagnostic manual of psychiatry. Mandy Habib, a clinical psychologist and co-director of the Institute for Adolescent Trauma Treatment and Training at Adelphi University, said the condition occurs among youths who have suffered repeated episodes of any one or several types of trauma: physical battery, neglect, verbal insults, threats, and sexual and emotional abuse.... Complex trauma disorder is marked by a broad constellation of problems, which have been cataloged by mental health experts. Many youths with complex trauma have relationship problems with family members and peers. Most have low self-esteem and are plagued by shame and guilt. Thinking and learning are impaired and some young people are affected by depersonalization, a sense of being detached from or “not in” one’s body, according data collected on the condition.... Having an official diagnosis in the DSM would help eliminate the misdiagnosis of children and teens who are affected by complex trauma disorder. Many are diagnosed as being bipolar or as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Kids diagnosed with those conditions are prescribed potent medications. … “It’s about what they’ve been through, how they dealt with it and how they are choosing better coping strategies,” Habib said.