Roundup: Cherokee grapple with 7 generations of trauma; a year in life of foster mom; recovery possible from (some) adverse childhood experiences

Patricia Grant (photo by Caitlin Byrd, Mountain Express)

When working with substance abuse and mental health issues in Cherokee people, social worker Patricia Grant said yesterday during a presentation at the University of North Carolina in Asheville, she knows that she’s dealing not only with that individual’s trauma, but with historical trauma that’s

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Roundup: One doc’s fascinating journey with obese patient; Minnesota children in prison experience more family violence; Newark, OH, op-ed on child abuse and brain damage

In this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, Peter Vash, a physician at the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Medicine, described a several-year journey with a morbidly obese patient that ended with the woman losing nearly 160 pounds and living a happier life.

Unlike most physicians, Vash did a detailed history in which he learned that Paula (not her real name) had been sexually molested by an uncle when she was a child. For a very long time, she did not associate her over-eating with her molestation. Vash’s story looks at how she arrived at that knowledge, and how that was critical to her recovering her health. Here’s some of what she told him (she gave Vash permission to tell her story):

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Roundup: Time to add parenting classes to the 3 Rs?; fund Victims of Child Abuse Act; campaign in Las Vegas advises: Choose partners carefully

In 2006, 4,569 kids under the age of 18 were hospitalized as a result of child abuse; 300 of those children died. So the U.S. could use more methods to protect  children, according to this story by Bonnie Rothman on Time’s Healthland. She describes a growing subspecialty — the board-certified child abuse pediatrician, “who focuses on identifying child maltreatment and neglect”. Dr. Robert Block, the current president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is a child abuse pediatrician and worked for a couple of decades to establish the specialty.

Part of the job of the child abuse pediatrician is to advocate for ways to improve parenting skills,

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Roundup: Brief therapy heals trauma in kids; a cautionary tale for child protective services

One of the issues that many pediatricians and family practitioners have in screening for child trauma is the lack of effective treatment for the child. Jane Brody did a terrific post on the New York Times Well blog about a therapy that significantly reduces post traumatic stress symptoms in just four to six structured sessions that involve the caregiver and the child, together and apart.

The treatment is called Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI). It was developed by Steven R. Marans, professor of psychiatry at Yale University and director of the Childhood Violent Trauma Clinic at Yale School of Medicine’s  Child Study Center, Dr. Steven J. Berkowitz, now a child psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Carla Smith Stover, an assistant professor at Yale’s Child Study Center. They published results of the therapy in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology in 2010 (online) and in print (June 2011).

The children completing the intervention were 65 percent less likely than those in the comparison group to have developed full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder and 73 percent less likely to experience partial or full post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers said.

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Roundup: Ideas for preventing child trauma fall short; child trauma costs billions in long run; extend restrictions for abusers in family violence

Since this is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, you’re likely to see many editorials and op-eds on the subject. Here’s one from today’s Bill Day’s illustration about verbal abuse (above) for this editorial is, in some ways, more on-target than the editorial. It’s a well-done editorial in the sense that it advocates not leaving child abuse prevention to police. And it also helps bust the myth that we cling to in our society: that strangers are what parents have to worry about most.

Rather, most people who commit child abuse are people we know well. They are parents strung out on drugs, dependent on alcohol or overwhelmed by mental illness to the point that they neglect their children. In fact, the majority of abuse cases involve child neglect, according to Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau.

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