Thursday, October 15, 2009

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Any child who has had to deal with the trauma of life-threatening food allergies could also develop a condition called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The causes of PTSD are defined as virtually any trauma which could be considered life-threatening or that severely compromises the emotional well-being of an individual or a situation which causes intense fear.

The symptoms of PTSD really caught my eye because, I could see some of these in my own child. Some of the characteristics of someone with PTSD could be chronic signs of hyper-arousal, sleep problems, irritability, anger, trouble concentrating, increased reaction to being startled and a hyper-vigilance to the threat.

The anger, irritability and hyper vigilance to the threat were behaviors I have seen more in my daughter recently. When you talking about the trauma a child with food allergies goes through, they are perfect candidates to develop PTSD.

In the past week Carlese has had four different allergic reactions to various foods. One out of the four reactions required a trip to the emergency room. It seems that more and more she is getting a "yukky" taste from so many various foods and varied circumstances.

I received a call from the school nurse just yesterday informing me that Carlese was in her office after complaining of "needing her inhaler and an itchy taste" in her mouth. After doing a peak flow and listening to her chest, the nurse didn't see any signs of needing an inhaler.

The nurse also called me to ask me to pick up Carlese from school because, there were no other signs of an allergic reaction requiring the administration of the Epi-pen. She was as puzzled about the whole situation as I was.

After asking some questions, I did find out that the symptoms occurred during art class which involved oil paints. There could have possibly been some oral allergy syndrome type of situation due to the smell of the paints or the dust in the air. It is really hard to say at this point.

A child with food allergies must always be in a hyperawareness mode and I think that the body could become even more sensitive to the foods and the environment.

I am on a search now for a counselor who has worked with children with food allergies and can shed some light on this for me.

Some things I did find helpful in the articles concerning Post-traumatic Stress Disorder were some coping mechanisms. For more information on some coping mechanisms for PSTD you can go to

Stay well, stay safe and be brave.

Debra Denhart

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