We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Diagnoses for Children with Multiple Traumas - Part 2

The American Psychological Association is proposing a new diagnosis called “Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) for the next edition of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V). According to a May 2005 article in Psychiatric Annals (Vol. 34, No. 5, pages 401-408) by Boston University Medical Center psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, MD, for children to meet the criteria for DTD, they would have to show:[1]

  • Exposure: Exposure to one or more forms of developmentally adverse interpersonal traumas such as abandonment, betrayal, physical or sexual abuse and emotional abuse. May also experience subjective feelings in relation to this trauma, such as rage, betrayal, fear, resignation, defeat and shame.
  • Dysregulation: Dysregulation development in response to trauma cues, including disturbances in emotions, health, behavior, cognition, relationships, and self-attributions. Behavioral manifestations could be self-injury, for example, cognitive manifestation might appear as confusion or dissociation.
  • Negative attributions and expectations: Negative beliefs in line with experience of interpersonal trauma. May stop expecting protection from others and believe that future victimization is inevitable.
  • Functional impairments: Impairments in any or all arenas of life, including schools , friendship, family relations, and the law.

This new diagnosis would go a long way in recognizing the multiple aspects of treating children who have experienced trauma.


[1] “Monitor on Psychology,” T. DeAngelis, American Psychological Association, Volume 38, No. 32, March 2007,


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Diagnoses for Children with Multiple Traumas
Child Abuse & Neglect Survey


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