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Family believes bullying, ADHD medication played role in 9-year-old girl’s suicide
A 9 year old CHILD should NEVER have suicidal ideations!STOP drugging children and give them love and appropriate discipline instead. Give them direction in life, lead them by being a good example. 

Give them self esteem and goals in life. Give them hope ..

I remember when I was told by CPS that my son, who was in foster care at the time, was having adverse reactions to psychotropic drugs they were giving him.  I was irate .

First of all my son had never taken psychotropic medications before foster care.

I do not believe psychotropic meds are good for kids in any situation! (or adults for that matter).

Second of all they were giving my son drugs after saying drugs was the reason they took him.

I said to the caseworker, “why are you drugging my child?”

” He’s very angry”, she answered.

” Well of course he is angry…” I began. ..

” You took him away from his home … I am angry too! You didn’t answer my question, why are you drugging my child?”

She pauses then sheepishly began talking ” Ms Murphy … let’s calm down and talk about your son’s anger…

“calm down? No! Let’s talk abou why the f*ck you are drugging my son? Did you call and talk to HIS REGULAR therapist not the so called CPS contract doctor?

did you send him to church? Did you? “

“Um no ma’am we cannot… we do not take children in foster homes to church”.

“Why not??” I demanded to know …

“We are not allowed to” she stated.

“Not allowed to?? But you ARE ALLOWED TO GIVE HIM DRUGS?”

She was stammering by now…”Ms Murphy-were trying to… we are here to help you…”

“No you’re not- I taught my son to turn to me with his problems or to pray about what’s bothering him…i taught him to stand still with God when he got angry, not to turn to drugs when he was angry.

Why are you teaching him to turn to drugs? are you trying to make him an addict? so you can take HIS kids from him one day too?? And you’re calling ME a bad parent? Really?”

I’ll never forget that conversation. so when I read about instances like this suicide I must share my experiences.

May peace find this child’s family.  

The parents of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who took her own life believe that bullying and ADHD medication played a role in her death.

According to AL.com,Madison “Maddie” Whittsett, of Birmingham, was pronounced dead at Children’s of Alabama Monday morning. The Friday before, her mother found her hanging in her bedroom closet.


“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else,’’ Madison’s stepfather, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Lt. Jimmie Williams, told AL.com.

“We talked to one of her friends and Maddie had apparently had a bad day. The friend said Maddie was bullied and she looked sad while she was being bullied,’’ Jimmie Williams said. “It must have really worn her out that day.”

Her mother, Eugenia Williams, said Maddie had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and received one-on-one help at her school. There had been incidents in which other students called her “stupid” and “dumb” but her parents felt like the issue had been addressed.

Just a few weeks ago, Maddie’s parents said she had been started on a medication to help with her ADHD that listed a side effect of possibly causing suicidal thoughts.

“The bullying plus the medicine, I think, gave her the boost to do that,’’ Jimmie Williams said.

The Williams hope Maddie’s story will help other parents.

“Maybe you can see if anything is going on. Look for changes in attitude. Changes in behavior,’’ Jimmie Williams said. “Support them and be there for them.”

He also hopes children will let adults know if they see a peer being bullied: “Like they always say, ‘If you see something, say something.’’’

Birmingham City Schools released this statement Tuesday afternoon: “Our school community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of a student. Counselors and district-level support staff, trained to help students, parents and school personnel at difficult times such as this, have been on-site at the impacted school today to provide assistance to students and staff in needed of support in processing this tragedy. The death of any young person is a tragic loss that impacts the whole school community, and we send our deepest condolences to the family.”

Eugenia Williams remembers her daughter as “alive, energetic, funny,” and said she loved to dance. Jimmie Williams said the suicide “came out of left field.”

“She just wanted to be your friend. She wanted to be everybody’s friend and wanted everyone to be happy,’’ he said. “We saw that in everything she did.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

 

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Texas Child Protective Services Drug and Drug Testing Policy

(Knowledge is power)

Source: TDPRS Substance Abuse Policy

1923 Testing for Substance Abuse

1923.1 Detection Periods for Substance Abuse

For detection periods, see Appendix 1922.1: Detection Periods for Abused Substances.

1923.2 Diluted Samples Obtained During Testing

A diluted sample indicates that a client drank a large amount of water at some time before the drug test.

When the lab indicates that a sample is diluted, the caseworker can take one the following actions to arrive at a conclusion about the client’s use:

• Have the client retested

• Request a different type of testing, such as requesting a hair follicle test instead of a urine test

• Rely on credible evidence obtained through observation, information from collateral sources (such as a teacher, neighbor, or family doctor), and the case history

1923.3 Instant (Swab) Tests and Court Hearings
An instant test is a swabbing of a client’s oral fluids. The test is performed by a caseworker to test for recent drug use. If possible, the test results are confirmed by a laboratory.

Using the Tests in Court

Before presenting the results of instant swab tests as evidence in court, the caseworker must obtain confirmation from a laboratory.

1923.4 Using Acceptable Contractors to Obtain Test Results

DFPS accepts lab test results from physicians, hospitals, the legal system (such as the adult probation department), and providers of substance abuse treatment in order to assess safety and to assess the need for services and treatment.

1923.5 Frequency of Random Substance Abuse Testing

In general, the caseworker may conduct random drug tests when substance abuse laboratory testing is allowed under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing; that is, when:

• a case is scheduled for closure;

• reunification of the child with his or her family is contemplated;

• there are changes in the parent’s appearance, behavior, or affect;

• new information is received about possible substance abuse;

• the client has terminated substance abuse treatment;

• the client shows signs of returning to seeking and using drugs, including associating with former friends and family members who use drugs; keeping drug paraphernalia in the home; or making statements minimizing or denying having a problem with drugs or alcohol;

• the client refuses to create a relapse safety plan (see 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses);

• the client minimizes or denies seeking and using drugs seeking and after test results come back positive;

• there are signs that abstinence is being threatened; for example, when a client increases the amount of alcohol consumed or begins to smoke cigarettes frequently to relieve anxiety;

• the client has made minimal or no effort to mitigate the substance abuse related problems that led to abuse and neglect;

• the client is not involved in substance abuse treatment or aftercare, even though it was recommended; and

• the regional substance abuse specialist recommends testing.

Hair Follicle Testing

The caseworker determines the frequency with which random hair follicle testing may be conducted, by following regional protocols.

1923.6 Situations Not Appropriate for Drug Testing

It is not appropriate for a caseworker to arrange for drug testing when a parent is:

• actively involved in substance abuse treatment and the treatment provider conducts random testing that is based on laboratory confirmation.

• randomly tested by another entity, such as a probation department or drug court, and the test is confirmed by a laboratory. The caseworker must check into the frequency of testing by the other entity, before random testing is discontinued by CPS.

1923.7 Discontinuing Drug Testing

The caseworker must discuss with the supervisor and the client’s treatment provider when contemplating discontinuing routine drug testing.

The discontinuation or modification of routine drug testing may be considered when:

• A parent does not exhibit substance seeking and using behaviors (for example, when associating with former friends or family members who use drugs; keeping drug paraphernalia in the home; or making statements minimizing or denying having a problem with drugs or alcohol); and

• The parent has a consistent pattern of negative tests results.

1923.8 Assessing Test Results or Accepting an Admission

Positive Result

The caseworker must assess a positive drug test result in relationship to the child’s safety and risk. The result must be discussed with the parent in a timely manner.

If a parent with a positive drug result is not engaged in substance abuse treatment and is actively parenting a child, the caseworker refers the parent to:

• a provider of outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) services or

• a provider of substance abuse treatment.

The threshold that makes a referral appropriate is based on the definition of a child not being safe.

That is, a child is not safe when:

• threats or dangers exist in the family that are related to substance use;

• the child is vulnerable to such threats; and

• the parent who is using substances does not have sufficient protective capacities to manage or control threats.

Client Admission

A client’s verbal or written admission is accepted as a positive result of drug use; however good casework practice calls for getting the client to sign a statement of use.

Testing to Rule Out Under-Reporting

If a client admits to drug use, is not engaged in treatment, and is actively parenting children, the caseworker may consider referring the client to a substance abuse provider for screening, assessment, or treatment.

Referral may be necessary because clients sometimes under-report drug use or do not admit to all of the substances that they have used.

Clients likewise may under-report:

• the frequency with which they use dugs,

• the quantity of drugs they use, and

• the amount of money they spend on the drugs.

Negative Result

When the result of a parent’s drug test is negative, the caseworker:

• notifies the parent about the result in a timely manner; and

• encourages the parent’s abstinence and provides positive feedback.

Refusal to Test

When testing is appropriate under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing, but the client refuses to take a drug test, the caseworker must document the refusal to be tested.

If a parent refuses to take a drug test or refuses to allow a child who is an alleged perpetrator to be tested, the caseworker consults with the supervisor in a staffing meeting. The supervisor may recommend legal intervention, if the evidence raises concern for the child’s safety.

For cases under court jurisdiction, the caseworker must notify the judge and attorneys about the client’s refusal to test.

When testing is appropriate under 1920 Substance Abuse Testing, the caseworker must document any prescribed medication that the client is taking.

The documentation may be made by:

• completing a regional form; or

• entering the details in the Contact Narrative in the IMPACT system.

The caseworker must share the information about the client’s medication with the lab’s medical review officer (MRO).

1924 Special Situations Related to Substance Abuse

1924.1 Methadone and Prescription Medication

Methadone

If the parent tests positive for methadone, the caseworker:

• obtains a release (Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services) from the parent;

• verifies with the methadone clinic, that the parent has a prescription for methadone and is taking methadone as prescribed; and

• assesses the effect that the methadone dosage has on the parent’s ability to provide consistent and safe supervision of the children.

Prescription Medicine

Similar to methadone, the caseworker must assess the effect that prescription medications have on a parent’s ability to provide supervision and to keep children safe.

To determine whether the client is taking his or her medication as prescribed, the caseworker must check with the client’s medical provider.

For the caseworker to obtain the information from the medical provider, the client needs to sign a consent-to-release form (Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services).

If the client refuses to sign the release form, the caseworker consults with the supervisor about whether to request legal intervention.

1924.2 The Infectious Client

If the caseworker is concerned that a client may have an infectious disease, the caseworker, with the supervisor’s approval, refers the client to a local drug-testing facility for a urine test in lieu of an oral test.

Testing Within 48 Hours

The client must be tested within 48 hours after the contact with the caseworker.

1924.3 Drug Use During a Parent-Child Visit or FGDM Conference

A court order supersedes the following DFPS policies.

Parent-Child Visit

If a parent appears to be under the influence of a controlled substance and or alcohol, the parent-child visit must not occur.

Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) Conferences

A parent or participant who is visibly intoxicated during a family group decision making (FGDM) conference, must be excused from the conference.

The caseworker does not administer an oral test during the FGDM conference. Any required testing occurs at the end of the meeting and preferably at a location away from the FGDM immediate site.

For policy on the testing of youth, see 1951 Children and Adolescents Who Smoke Marijuana, Use Other Drugs, or Drink Alcohol.

The existence of a positive drug result in the case record does not automatically exclude a parent from visiting with the child or attending a FGDM. The caseworker needs to weigh the benefits of the visit or attendance when confronted with a positive drug reading in the case record.

If the child will not be in danger, the visit or participation may be allowed.

1924.4 The Court Testimony of the Medical Review Officer

Because of the high costs, testimony provided by technicians, medical review officers (MRO), or other personnel employed by drug testing facilities is reserved for extreme circumstances; for example, parental termination hearings in substitute care cases when a judge rehuttoquires testimony in person.

Alternatives to consider before requesting court room testimony from a representative of a drug testing laboratory include:

• depositions at locations near the drug testing laboratory; and

• testimony provided via teleconference.

If DFPS concludes that court room testimony is necessary from a representative of a drug testing laboratory, the DFPS region requiring the testimony:

• negotiates payment rates;

• negotiates travel expenses;

• renders payment for court-related services; and

• renders payment for testimony provided by a representative of a drug-testing laboratory.

1930 Casework Practice for Substance Abuse Cases

1931 Overview of Casework

Practice for Substance Abuse Cases
1931.1 The Definition of a Drug

The word drug, as used in this policy, refers to:

• controlled substances;

• prescriptions;

• over-the-counter medications; and

• alcohol.

1931.2 Obtaining Diagnostic Classifications From Professionals

When a client appears to be using drugs, the caseworker refers the client to professionals for in depth screening, assessment, or treatment.

The caseworker does not make any diagnostic classifications regarding the criteria of drug or alcohol use by the client. Classifications are made by licensed professionals.

For a summary of the criteria, see Appendix 1931.2: Criteria for Diagnosing Substance Abuse.

1931.3 Guiding Principles of Drug Testing

Administering a drug test does not change the protocols for conducting an investigation or for performing casework. The caseworker does not rely solely on a drug test to arrive at a conclusion or make a decision in a case.

The caseworker considers the entire case, including:

• both the negative and positive results of drug tests; and

• all other evidence, such as statements from collateral witnesses (such as teachers, neighbors, and family doctors), the effect of any drug use on the children in the case, and the ability of the parent to protect the child.

1931.4 Marijuana Policy

In compliance with Texas law and the schedules of controlled substances required by the Department of State Health Services, DFPS considers marijuana a Schedule I Controlled Substance that is illegal.

Medical Marijuana

The State of Texas and DFPS do not recognize the use of medical marijuana, whether taken in pill form or by smoking. DFPS views marijuana as analogous to any other illegal substance or the use of alcohol as it relates to a child’s safety.

1931.5 Determining Safety and Risk When Marijuana, Other Substances, or Alcohol Are Present

Caseworkers need to determine whether the use of marijuana, other illegal substances, or alcohol:

• puts a child in situations of danger or harm; or

• places the child at risk for abuse or neglect.

Immediate Safety

In assessing the child’s immediate safety, the caseworker assesses the following:

• Parental behavior – For instance, erratic behavior that makes the parent appear unable to protect the child, or the inability to separate reality from hallucinations.

• Physical signs of impairment – For example, in the case of marijuana use, the physical signs of impairment could include altered perception, dilated pupils, lack of concentration and coordination, craving for sweets, increased hunger, laughter, slowed thinking, slowed reaction time, and respiratory infections (The caseworker may also notice the smell of burned rope. Physical impairment indicates that threats are present, the child is vulnerable, and the parent does not have sufficient protective capacities to deal with the threats to the child’s safety. For more information, see, Appendix 1931.1: Physical Signs and Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol Use.

• The lack of a sober, protective parent present who possesses sufficient protective capacities to mitigate threats.

• A child’s age and level of vulnerability as a measure of the extent to which threats or risk of harm are present.

• Whether the basic needs of child are being met; for example, determining whether the child is so severely neglected due to the parent’s substance use or abuse that the child needs immediate medical attention.

• Accessibility to substances – A child’s accessibility to marijuana, other substances, prescriptions drugs, or alcohol makes the child vulnerable to threats or dangers.

• physical safety – The extent to which the living environment creates the condition for threats or harm to the child; for example, a child living in a home where Methamphetamine is cooked.

Risk in Foreseeable Future

To assess the risk of abuse and neglect in the foreseeable future, if CPS were no longer involved, the following tasks are completed by the caseworker:

• Conduct a full risk assessment

• Talk to collaterals, especially school officials or child care staff

• Assess for prior CPS history, criminal history, and substance abuse history

• Assess for prior or current participation in treatment programs

• Review mental health, psychiatric history, or both

• Determine when the parent last used a substance

• Ask the parent about the friends and family members that visit the home in relationship to their drug use and history

• Ask about the presence of a sober protective caregiver who has sufficient protective capacities to manage threats

1932 Screening and Assessing for Substance Abuse

1932.1 Screening for Substance Abuse

Questionnaires

Using a simple screening questionnaires, the caseworker determines whether a parent is in need of further screening, assessment, or treatment for substance abuse.

The following questionnaires are easy screenings for the caseworker to administer:

• CAGE(Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, and Eye-Opener)

• UNCOPE (Using, Neglected, Cut Down, Objected, Preoccupied, and Emotional)

Considerations

The caseworker also considers the following as further intervention when a client indicates that he or she is using marijuana or other controlled substances, or is using alcohol in a way that threatens the child’s safety:

• Observation

• Medical, criminal, and substance abuse histories

• Collateral reports

• Examination of the living environment

• Information from the case record

Timeframe

A screening for drug or alcohol use can be conducted in any stage of the case.

1932.2 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

When appropriate, the caseworker may administer either of the following screening questionnaires when interviewing a pregnant mother who is alleged to be drinking alcohol while pregnant:

• T-ACE (Tolerance, Annoyance, Cut Down, and Eye-Opener)

• TWEAK (Tolerance, Worry, Eye-Opener, Amnesia, and Cut Down)

The T-ACE and the TWEAK questionnaires help identify the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can damage the embryo or fetus.

If the questionnaire indicates that a pregnant mother is drinking alcohol, the caseworker refers her to a health clinic or physician.

1932.3 Drug Use Outside of the Home

A caseworker considers a parent’s drug use as he or she would any other evidence in a case; that is, the caseworker considers it along with all other available evidence when:

• making a disposition;

• evaluating a parent’s need for treatment; or

• assessing the safety of a child.

Whether the drug use occurs inside or outside the home must not automatically lead the caseworker to one conclusion or another. Each case must be reviewed and addressed individually; for example, whether the parent tests positive for or admits to using marijuana, other illegal substances, or alcohol either outside of the home or outside of the presence of the children (for example, if the parent smoked marijuana at a party that was held away from the home).

In arriving at a disposition, the caseworker follows the statutory definitions of abuse and neglect. It is the effect that the marijuana smoking, drug use, or alcohol use have on the child and the child’s safety that guides the disposition, rather than purely the parent’s use of the substance.

To arrive at a disposition, the caseworker takes into account that a child’s safety is based on:

• the child’s vulnerability;

• the threats of danger within the family; and

• the capacity of a protective caregiver.

1940 Establishing Protective Measures When a Child Is Threatened by Substance Abuse

When a child’s safety is threatened by a client’s use of marijuana, other substances, or alcohol, or when there is a risk that the child’s safety could be threatened, the caseworker puts protective measures into place.

The table below lists some of the protective measures the caseworker can consider:

Protective Measure

Interventions

Related Definitions

Ensure the child’s immediate safety

• Safety assessment

• Safety plan

• Parental-child safety placement (voluntary placement by the parent, as opposed to by a court order)

• Conservatorship removal

Safe child:

Vulnerable children are safe when there are no threats of danger within the family or when the parents possess sufficient capacity to manage threats and protect the child.

Help client achieve and maintain abstinence

• Random drug testing

• Physician-prescribed medications to treat a drug or alcohol addiction

• Detoxification

Refraining from the use of alcohol or other drugs.

(Abstinence from alcohol applies to parents who have endangered a child’s safety when drinking)

Develop a relapse safety plan

• Network of abstinent and sober friends and family members

• Identified friend or family member to protect the child

Plan to provide safety for the child, if the parent contemplates a relapse or experiences a relapse

Seek judicial oversight

• Motion to participate

• Order in aid of investigation

• Family treatment drug court

• Petition for temporary managing conservatorship

Involvement of the court to mitigate problems of substance abuse and child safety

Develop reliable sources of support

• TANF

• Protective day care

• Medicaid

• Employment or job training

• Food stamps

• Housing or public housing

Having tangible resources that enable a parent to recover, or to improve enough to meet the parent’s and family’s financial and basic needs.

Guide parenting and child development

• Parenting class

• Participation in ECI (Early Childhood Intervention)

Having knowledge about parenting, child development, and alternative forms of discipline

1950 Newborns, Children, and Youth Who Are Exposed to Drugs or Alcohol
1951 Children and Adolescents Who Smoke Marijuana, Use Other Drugs, or Drink Alcohol

1951.1 Youth Who Are Not in DFPS Conservatorship and Are Not Unemancipated

Unless legally married or otherwise legally emancipated, a youth is not considered an adult until the age of 18, even if the youth is a parent.

Guiding Principle

Court orders requiring drug testing supersede the guiding principle below.

When a caseworker becomes aware that a child or adolescent is smoking marijuana, using drugs, or drinking alcohol, the caseworker treats the situation as a medical concern that must be addressed by the parent, just as any other medical concern must be.

Treating the situation as a medical concern assumes that a child using drugs is in need of protection. The intent is to:

• rule out any medical complications associated with drug exposure; and

• give the parent an opportunity to take ownership for the issues that may have led the child to use and help the child obtain any necessary treatment.

The caseworker does not administer drug tests to the child. If the allegation involves a child age 10 or older as an alleged perpetrator, the caseworker obtains written consent from the parent to send the child to a drug testing laboratory.

If the parent refuses to give written consent for the testing, the caseworker discusses with his or her supervisor the possibility of seeking legal intervention.

Parent Obtains Testing and Treatment for the Youth

The caseworker seeks to empower and encourage the parent to take responsibility to obtain testing, screening, assessment, or treatment for the child or adolescent, if it appears necessary.

Necessity is based on credible evidence that the youth might be using drugs or drinking alcohol; for example, a parent stating that a child or youth has been exposed to drugs or alcohol. As appropriate, the worker assists the parent in accessing substance abuse services through a medical clinic or provider, such as a primary care physician, health clinic, or emergency room.

If the medical provider recommends treatment, the caseworker assists the parent in accessing services in the community. Or, the worker refers the parent and child to a provider of outreach, screening, assessment, and referral (OSAR) services. The youth must be age 13 or older to be referred to OSAR. See 1912 Referring Clients to DSHS-Funded Substance Abuse Treatment.

The parent has the right to purchase over-the-counter drug tests as an initial step in arranging for the youth to be seen by a medical provider or OSAR.

1951.2 Children and Adolescents in DFPS Conservatorship

Guiding Principle

Due to the physical and psychological harm drug use may cause a child or youth, CPS practice is to take a medical approach when addressing the issue.

If a caseworker or medical consenter suspects that a child or youth may be using drugs, the caseworker or medical consenter may have the child tested only by a medical provider.

The caseworker and medical consenter:

• must not administer drug tests to the youth; and

• must not give permission for the youth to be tested initially by any entity that is not a medical provider.

Exception

If a youth is under the supervision of Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) or the county juvenile probation department, the youth can be tested for drugs by the juvenile system.

Process

To have a youth tested by a medical provider, the caseworker the medical consenter, makes an appointment with the youth’s health care provider or primary care physician (PCP), just as he or she would if the youth were sick.

As in any medical emergency situation, if the youth appears to require immediate medical care, the youth must be taken to an emergency care facility. The caseworker or medical consenter then informs the health care provider or the PCP about the concern for the youth’s possible use or abuse of drugs or alcohol. The health care provider or PCP may refer the youth to a substance abuse professional.

At the time the youth is suspected to be using or abusing drugs or alcohol, the caseworker:

• collaborates with the regional DFPS substance abuse specialist and the DFPS well-being specialist to coordinate the most appropriate services for the youth’s individual needs;

• Follow the recommendation of qualified professionals in addressing the youth’s substance abuse issues, the caseworker incorporates the recommendations into the child’s plan of service and follow the treatment recommendations of the doctor or qualified professional, which may include residential treatment and rehabilitation services. When appropriate and available, the youth’s treatment services must be located within the youth’s community.

1951.3 Youth in Extended Care or Return to Care

Youth who are 18 years of age or older and are receiving extended care or return-to-care services are considered young adults. Young adults are subject to the drug testing policy for adults. While in a DFPS placement, the young adult must abide by the voluntary agreement that he or she signed to remain in conservatorship.

If it is suspected that a young adult is abusing substances, the caseworker:

• makes the appropriate referrals to services to assess whether substance abuse treatment is needed; and

• encourages the young adult to seek services.

1952 Newborns Exposed to Drugs or Alcohol
1952.1 Safety Plan for a Substance-Exposed Newborn

An allegation that a newborn has been exposed to drugs or alcohol could result in DFPS filing legal paperwork to be named the newborn’s temporary managing conservator.

The tasks the caseworker must accomplish in an open case are explained in the table below:

Stage of the Case

Task the Caseworker Completes

Investigation

Complete a risk assessment within 30 days of the birth of the newborn.

FBSS Home Visit

See 3000 Family Based Safety Services to determine the frequency of home visits.

Family Service Plan (FBSS or CVS)

For the timelines within which to complete or update a family service plan, see:

3000 Family Based Safety Services; and

6000 Substitute-Care Services.

During a home visit

Provide the parent with available information about:

• infant care and development,

• safe sleep precautions,

• SIDS reduction, and

• substance abuse

• parenting

• Early Childhood InterventionExternal Link (ECI) program of Texas Health & Human Services (HHS).

At any stage that is appropriate

Schedule a Family Team Meeting or a Family Group Conference.

See:

1121 Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM)

2440 Family Team Meetings

6251 Overview of Permanency Planning Meetings

Appendix 1100-1: Roles and Responsibilities of Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) Staff

If services beyond the investigation are provided

Consider referring the mother (or the mother and newborn) to an inpatient substance abuse program.

Specify whether participation is voluntary or is based on CPS holding an order of Temporary Managing Conservatorship.

Note the referral in the family’s service plan.

Consider case for Family Drug Treatment Court if available in your region. See Appendix 1961: Family Drug Treatment Courts (FDTCs) for more information.

1960 Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
1961 Treatment Options for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Regardless of the nature of treatment, caseworkers need to make appropriate referrals when drug use is present. See Appendix 1960: Treatment Options for Substance Abuse.

All treatment must meet the individual needs of each client. In selecting the treatment option, the caseworker considers:

• the type of substance use,

• progression of that use,

• prior attempts at treatment,

• drug use experience, and

• client’s motivation for treatment.

Clients respond differently to treatment. Treatment begins with abstinence; that is, refraining from alcohol or drugs that endanger a child’s safety and continues with a drug-free lifestyle. The longer the client is in treatment, the better the outcome for abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle, and the greater the chance that protective measures remain in place for the child’s safety.

1962 Education When Treatment Is Not Recommended by an OSAR Screener or Provider

If a service provider or screening substance abuse counselor does not recommend treatment for a client, and the caseworker is convinced (based on drug tests, or on information from collateral sources or the case record), that the client is in need of substance abuse services, the caseworker may consider:

• providing the client with substance abuse pamphlets and other educational materials about substance abuse;

• submitting the client to random drug tests; and

• referring the client to programs, such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

The caseworker may also appeal a denial. For more information about appealing a denial, see the regional substance abuse specialist. The CPS appeal process involving the OSAR can be found in Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services.

1963 When Treatment Is Unavailable, Resources Are Scarce, Waiting Lists Are Long, or the Distance Is Too Far to Travel

A lack of resources and other logistical circumstances may prevent a client from getting certain substance abuse services; however, the caseworker must not assume that there are no services that may be provided.

In such circumstances, while the caseworker cannot provide treatment, the caseworker:

• considers the options for intervention that areavailable to the client;

• works with the client to incorporate the options into an agreed-upon service plan; and

• obtains approval of the plan from the supervisor.

Developing the Substance Abuse Service Plan

In lieu of other resources, the caseworker may advise the client to take the following actions as part of the client’s substance abuse service plan:

• Join a community support group for people in recovery (for example, Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous).

• Obtain a medical assessment by a health clinic or physician (for example to determine whether substance abuse has harmed the client’s health, or to see whether there is medication that can help the client remain abstinent).

• Pass random drug tests conducted by the caseworker.

• Develop a relapse safety plan (see 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses).

• Include protective measures in the client’s relapse safety plan. (See 1940 Establishing Protective Measures When a Child Is Threatened by Substance Abuse.)

• Read educational materials and handouts on substance abuse and recovery. (The following Web sites contain handouts and publications on substance abuse that the caseworker may share with clients.):

• Identify the triggers and actions needed to change past behaviors. (The following Web sites contain information on relapse prevention that the caseworker may share with clients):

• Self-report the days abstinent and the days monitored by a sober or abstinent family member.

• Obtain services at a mental heath clinic, if applicable.

• Self-report when recovery is threatened.

• Avoid the people, places, and things that can jeopardize abstinence and recovery (avoid situations, friends, family members, and locations that encouraged drug use in the past).

• Accept, at the insistence of the caseworker, that abstinence is the only acceptable behavior if the client is to be allowed to care for or be in the presence of his or her children; and that the client’s drug use has placed or places the children in danger.

1964 The Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI)

The goal of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI) is to preclude the involvement of CPS while providing services to families thereby preventing or removing conditions that could lead to child abuse and neglect.

PEI services are delivered to the client by local contractors throughout the state. When a caseworker believes that a family could benefit from services that would prevent or stop child abuse and neglect and the CPS case has been closed, a referral to PEI may be appropriate.

For the locations of PEI programs by county, see the DFPS intranet page on Prevention and Early Intervention.

1965 Indicators of Progress Made Toward Recovery

Recovery is a long process and, under the clauses of the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (P.L.105-89External Link), CPS’s involvement with a family is time limited; therefore a client’s caseworker and treatment providers must communicate frequently and remain cognizant of the time limits.

Indicators of progress that the caseworker can rely on in weighing the next step in the CPS case are whether the parent:

• attends and stays engaged in a substance abuse treatment program.

• participates in community recovery support groups, following the guidelines of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and obtaining a sponsor, if applicable.

• achieves a period of abstinence.

• complies with the CPS service plan.

• complies with the CPS safety plan, if there is one.

• has developed a relapse safety plan. See 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses.

• is achieving parenting goals.

• has established a pattern of negative results from drug tests .

• visits his or her children consistently and displays increased parental responsibility (if applicable).

• has changed past substance-abusing behaviors and has developed a network of sober, abstinent family members and friends.

• parent is employed (if applicable).

• has no new reports of criminal activity.

• has no new substantiated allegations of abuse and neglect that are related to substance abuse.

• takes prescribed psychotropic medications correctly (if applicable).

The key components of effective substance treatment in the CPS context are as follows:

• Maintaining abstinence

• Remaining involved in treatment or aftercare

• Acquiring and demonstrating parenting skills, including bonding with the children (for applicable parents).

• Mitigating the problems that led to the abuse and neglect that was caused by substance abuse.

• Developing a relapse safety plan.

1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses
CPS June 2010

Relapse is the return to the pattern of substance abuse or addiction, as well as the process during which indicators appear before the client’s resumption of substance use.

In the relapse safety plan the client spells out the steps he or she plans to take to ensure the safety of the children when relapse becomes an issue; for example, the client might state in the relapse safety plan that:

• he or she will place the children with CPS-approved family members or friends when experiencing a relapse; and

• the children will remain with the family members or friends until the client returns to abstinence and is once again engaged in treatment or aftercare services.

Any court orders supersede any actions stipulated by the client involving a voluntary caregiver in the relapse safety plan.

1960 Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse
1961 Treatment Options for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Regardless of the nature of treatment, caseworkers need to make appropriate referrals when drug use is present. See Appendix 1960: Treatment Options for Substance Abuse.

All treatment must meet the individual needs of each client. In selecting the treatment option, the caseworker considers:

• the type of substance use,

• progression of that use,

• prior attempts at treatment,

• drug use experience, and

• client’s motivation for treatment.

Clients respond differently to treatment. Treatment begins with abstinence; that is, refraining from alcohol or drugs that endanger a child’s safety and continues with a drug-free lifestyle. The longer the client is in treatment, the better the outcome for abstinence and a drug-free lifestyle, and the greater the chance that protective measures remain in place for the child’s safety.

1962 Education When Treatment Is Not Recommended by an OSAR Screener or Provider

If a service provider or screening substance abuse counselor does not recommend treatment for a client, and the caseworker is convinced (based on drug tests, or on information from collateral sources or the case record), that the client is in need of substance abuse services, the caseworker may consider:

• providing the client with substance abuse pamphlets and other educational materials about substance abuse;

• submitting the client to random drug tests; and

• referring the client to programs, such as Alcohol Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

The caseworker may also appeal a denial. For more information about appealing a denial, see the regional substance abuse specialist. The CPS appeal process involving the OSAR can be found in Form 2062Word Document DFPS Release of Confidential Information to DSHS/Substance Abuse Services.

1963 When Treatment Is Unavailable, Resources Are Scarce, Waiting Lists Are Long, or the Distance Is Too Far to Travel

A lack of resources and other logistical circumstances may prevent a client from getting certain substance abuse services; however, the caseworker must not assume that there are no services that may be provided.

In such circumstances, while the caseworker cannot provide treatment, the caseworker:

• considers the options for intervention that areavailable to the client;

• works with the client to incorporate the options into an agreed-upon service plan; and

• obtains approval of the plan from the supervisor.

Developing the Substance Abuse Service Plan

In lieu of other resources, the caseworker may advise the client to take the following actions as part of the client’s substance abuse service plan:

• Join a community support group for people in recovery (for example, Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous).

• Obtain a medical assessment by a health clinic or physician (for example to determine whether substance abuse has harmed the client’s health, or to see whether there is medication that can help the client remain abstinent).

• Pass random drug tests conducted by the caseworker.

• Develop a relapse safety plan (see 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses).

• Include protective measures in the client’s relapse safety plan. (See 1940 Establishing Protective Measures When a Child Is Threatened by Substance Abuse.)

• Read educational materials and handouts on substance abuse and recovery. (The following Web sites contain handouts and publications on substance abuse that the caseworker may share with clients.):

• Identify the triggers and actions needed to change past behaviors. (The following Web sites contain information on relapse prevention that the caseworker may share with clients):

• Self-report the days abstinent and the days monitored by a sober or abstinent family member.

• Obtain services at a mental heath clinic, if applicable.

• Self-report when recovery is threatened.

• Avoid the people, places, and things that can jeopardize abstinence and recovery (avoid situations, friends, family members, and locations that encouraged drug use in the past).

• Accept, at the insistence of the caseworker, that abstinence is the only acceptable behavior if the client is to be allowed to care for or be in the presence of his or her children; and that the client’s drug use has placed or places the children in danger.

1964 The Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI)

The goal of the Prevention and Early Intervention Program (PEI) is to preclude the involvement of CPS while providing services to families thereby preventing or removing conditions that could lead to child abuse and neglect.

PEI services are delivered to the client by local contractors throughout the state. When a caseworker believes that a family could benefit from services that would prevent or stop child abuse and neglect and the CPS case has been closed, a referral to PEI may be appropriate.

For the locations of PEI programs by county, see the DFPS intranet page on Prevention and Early Intervention.

1965 Indicators of Progress Made Toward Recovery

Recovery is a long process and, under the clauses of the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (P.L.105-89External Link), CPS’s involvement with a family is time limited; therefore a client’s caseworker and treatment providers must communicate frequently and remain cognizant of the time limits.

Indicators of progress that the caseworker can rely on in weighing the next step in the CPS case are whether the parent:

• attends and stays engaged in a substance abuse treatment program.

• participates in community recovery support groups, following the guidelines of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and obtaining a sponsor, if applicable.

• achieves a period of abstinence.

• complies with the CPS service plan.

• complies with the CPS safety plan, if there is one.

• has developed a relapse safety plan. See 1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses.

• is achieving parenting goals.

• has established a pattern of negative results from drug tests .

• visits his or her children consistently and displays increased parental responsibility (if applicable).

• has changed past substance-abusing behaviors and has developed a network of sober, abstinent family members and friends.

• parent is employed (if applicable).

• has no new reports of criminal activity.

• has no new substantiated allegations of abuse and neglect that are related to substance abuse.

• takes prescribed psychotropic medications correctly (if applicable).

The key components of effective substance treatment in the CPS context are as follows:

• Maintaining abstinence

• Remaining involved in treatment or aftercare

• Acquiring and demonstrating parenting skills, including bonding with the children (for applicable parents).

• Mitigating the problems that led to the abuse and neglect that was caused by substance abuse.

• Developing a relapse safety plan.

1966 Developing a Safety Plan in Case a Client Relapses
CPS June 2010

Relapse is the return to the pattern of substance abuse or addiction, as well as the process during which indicators appear before the client’s resumption of substance use.

In the relapse safety plan the client spells out the steps he or she plans to take to ensure the safety of the children when relapse becomes an issue; for example, the client might state in the relapse safety plan that:

• he or she will place the children with CPS-approved family members or friends when experiencing a relapse; and

• the children will remain with the family members or friends until the client returns to abstinence and is once again engaged in treatment or aftercare services.

Any court orders supersede any actions stipulated by the client involving a voluntary caregiver in the relapse safety plan.

1970 Drug-Endangered Children
1971 Drug Raids to Protect Drug-Endangered Children

In compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding between DFPS and the Texas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, the CPS caseworker’s role is to:

• respond to law enforcement, when notified about a drug-endangered child;

• accept control of the child from law enforcement or first responders taking control of a child must be consistent within the context of CPS general removal policies;

• arrange for appropriate decontamination;

• arrange for immediate and follow-up medical care;

• conduct an initial interview with the child;

• make placement decisions; and

• collaborate on an ongoing basis with law enforcement, medical personnel, and a criminal prosecutor.

See Appendix 1971: Protocol for Working With Drug-Endangered Children for more information on caseworker procedures for dealing with drug-endangered children.

1972 Safety Tips for Visiting Homes or Areas Where Substance Abuse Is Practiced

Visits to homes where marijuana, other controlled substances, and alcohol are present can present additional safety risks to caseworkers. In addition to the general precautions caseworkers need to take in making home visits, the following are precautions specific to the presence of substance abuse in the home:

If

a home is located in an area known for drug dealing …

before visiting the home:

• requests that a special investigator research, through law enforcement, the prevalence of criminal activity related to narcotics or violence that has taken place in the home; and

• requests that law enforcement officers assist when the caseworker goes to a home located in an area known for drug dealing.

one or both parents appear in the home to be intoxicated or incoherent …

• first ensures his or her own safety and the safety of the children;

• then calls law enforcement for assistance; and

• then calls the CPS supervisor for further guidance.

Considerations for Removal

A child is not removed simply because the parent is intoxicated. The caseworker weighs the following before deciding the action to take, when faced with an intoxicated parent:

• the child’s safety;

• the potential risk;

• the parent’s protective capacities; and

• CPS removal policies.

the caseworker suspects that he or she is in a home that is used as a drug factory, lab, or home where drugs are sold …

• calmly leaves the home; and

• calls law enforcement.

the caseworker observes drug use in the home …

does not take possession of the drug. CPS does not take possession of evidence. The caseworker calls law enforcement, if needed.

1973 Recognizing When a Caseworker Is Physically Exposed to Drugs

The caseworker needs to be familiar with some of the typical symptoms associated with drug exposure.

The symptoms the caseworker might experience if exposed to a drug substance are:

• shortness of breath;

• blue-colored skin;

• rapid breathing;

• anxiety;

• tightness in the chest;

• feeling fidgety; and

• pain when swallowing.

If the caseworker is exposed to a drug, he or she:

• seeks medical treatment, before taking any other steps; and then

• notifies his or her supervisor;

• completes, within one day of the incident, an Accident/Incident ReportExternal Link through the accessHR human resources system; and

• informs his or her physician about the suspected drug exposure.

Methamphetamine

If the caseworker suspects that he or she has been exposed to Methamphetamine, he or she contacts emergency medical personnel for decontamination and medical treatment.

1980 Assessing Substance Abuse

When assessing a client’s substance abuse, the caseworker does as follows:

• Assesses the nature of the client’s use (uses, abuses, is addicted, does not use)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on the client (physically, behaviorally, cognitively, socially, financially, and spiritually)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on his or her children (the prenatal effects, the effects on household safety, supervision, support systems, and any relationship to the children being physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected)

• Assesses the parent’s protective capacity

• Confirms the type of use (testing one of the following methods: instant swab, swab with confirmation, urine toxicology, or hair follicle test). For definitions, see 1922 Eligibility for Substance Abuse Testing.

1970 Drug-Endangered Children
1971 Drug Raids to Protect Drug-Endangered Children

In compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding between DFPS and the Texas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, the CPS caseworker’s role is to:

• respond to law enforcement, when notified about a drug-endangered child;

• accept control of the child from law enforcement or first responders taking control of a child must be consistent within the context of CPS general removal policies;

• arrange for appropriate decontamination;

• arrange for immediate and follow-up medical care;

• conduct an initial interview with the child;

• make placement decisions; and

• collaborate on an ongoing basis with law enforcement, medical personnel, and a criminal prosecutor.

See Appendix 1971: Protocol for Working With Drug-Endangered Children for more information on caseworker procedures for dealing with drug-endangered children.

1972 Safety Tips for Visiting Homes or Areas Where Substance Abuse Is Practiced

Visits to homes where marijuana, other controlled substances, and alcohol are present can present additional safety risks to caseworkers. In addition to the general precautions caseworkers need to take in making home visits, the following are precautions specific to the presence of substance abuse in the home:

If …

then the caseworker …

a home is located in an area known for drug dealing …

before visiting the home:

• requests that a special investigator research, through law enforcement, the prevalence of criminal activity related to narcotics or violence that has taken place in the home; and

• requests that law enforcement officers assist when the caseworker goes to a home located in an area known for drug dealing.

one or both parents appear in the home to be intoxicated or incoherent …

• first ensures his or her own safety and the safety of the children;

• then calls law enforcement for assistance; and

• then calls the CPS supervisor for further guidance.

Considerations for Removal

A child is not removed simply because the parent is intoxicated. The caseworker weighs the following before deciding the action to take, when faced with an intoxicated parent:

• the child’s safety;

• the potential risk;

• the parent’s protective capacities; and

• CPS removal policies.

the caseworker suspects that he or she is in a home that is used as a drug factory, lab, or home where drugs are sold …

• calmly leaves the home; and

• calls law enforcement.

the caseworker observes drug use in the home …

does not take possession of the drug. CPS does not take possession of evidence. The caseworker calls law enforcement, if needed.

1973 Recognizing When a Caseworker Is Physically Exposed to Drugs

The caseworker needs to be familiar with some of the typical symptoms associated with drug exposure.

The symptoms the caseworker might experience if exposed to a drug substance are:

• shortness of breath;

• blue-colored skin;

• rapid breathing;

• anxiety;

• tightness in the chest;

• feeling fidgety; and

• pain when swallowing.

If the caseworker is exposed to a drug, he or she:

• seeks medical treatment, before taking any other steps; and then

• notifies his or her supervisor;

• completes, within one day of the incident, an Accident/Incident ReportExternal Link through the accessHR human resources system; and

• informs his or her physician about the suspected drug exposure.

Methamphetamine

If the caseworker suspects that he or she has been exposed to Methamphetamine, he or she contacts emergency medical personnel for decontamination and medical treatment.

1980 Assessing Substance Abuse
CPS June 2010

When assessing a client’s substance abuse, the caseworker does as follows:

• Assesses the nature of the client’s use (uses, abuses, is addicted, does not use)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on the client (physically, behaviorally, cognitively, socially, financially, and spiritually)

• Assesses the effects of the client’s use on his or her children (the prenatal effects, the effects on household safety, supervision, support systems, and any relationship to the children being physically abused, sexually abused, or neglected)

• Assesses the parent’s protective capacity

• Confirms the type of use (testing one of the following methods: instant swab, swab with confirmation, urine toxicology, or hair follicle test). For definitions, see 1922 Eligibility for Substance Abuse Testing.

Uncategorized
I chose my son’s birthday- and he was perfect and he was mine.
pexels-photo-1030925.jpeg
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

His eyes were midnight black when he was born. In the first few weeks of his precious life, though, they changed slowly to a hazel green.

Just like mine.

He was my second child and would be my last child.

I had him on August 18th, a day that I had chosen for his birth. He was to be induced labor, a little early, because of complications with my amniotic fluid.

I chose that daffy for a couple reasons. First, the 18th was also my daughters birthday, just another month. Second, it would make him a Leo sign, and knowing i was having a boy i thought a Leo would have a good strong personality. Third, it fell on a Friday.

I had a daughter already who was five years old but i had voluntarily relinquished custody when she was two. I knew at the time, i wasn’t ready to be a full time single mom. Making that decision was one of the hardest decisions i had ever made. I knew it was the right thing to do, but i had felt that loss inside for years before my son was born.

Then, i had lost two babies before i got pregnant with my son. I knew this would be my last child, and having given up and lost two, i was so determined to hold on to my son with all my might.

I had a very problematic pregnancy. I kept losing amniotic fluid, causing the baby’s growth to be slow. I had to receive shots of blood thinners daily, go to the lab every other day for blood work, and the last couple months was put on bed rest. I was underweight. You couldn’t even tell i was pregnant until the very end.

I was also going through a divorce with custody issues from my daughter, involving not just my ex, but my mother as well. My father was my attorney. Nobody knew I was pregnant. Not even my father. In the State of Texas if a woman is pregnant during divorce proceedings the husband Is presumed to be the father. That could potentially cause problems and i had a mediation to attend. I was 7 months pregnant.

And nobody knew.

I was terrified, and had to tell my father, who was also my attorney, and did not know how to soften the blow. So, i left him a note the Friday before mediation on Monday, telling him i was 7 months pregnant, and i hid all weekend from him until Monday morning. .. When i had to go to court.

I’ll never forget, getting on the elevator with him nd he just looked at me and said “Who else knows your secret?”

I said , “nobody” .

He looked at my belly and said,

” you’re really pregnant? ”

I lifted my shirt and he saw it, my little round bowling ball size belly…

And his eyes widened…

” Are you healthy? Is the baby…?

“yes, Daddy. And it’s a little boy.”.

He smiled.

My divorce was finalised that day, and everyone knew by lunchtime. My mother and brothers were in shock, and couldn’t believe how far along i was .

My Daddy was just glad baby and i were healthy.

Less than two months later it was time.

The neonatal nursing team was prepared for a problematic birth, and possible complications. A whole team of them were in there, with an incubator in wait. I had woken up that morning, gone to the donut store on the way to the hospital for colaches and coffee.

I received pitocin when i arrived to begin the contractions. I walked the halls and was even stopped a couple times because i just didn’t look pregnant.

I weighed in at 130 pounds when he was born. He was all of 5 pounds 4 ounces. I pushed twice. After the first time, he crowned, and i asked them to get me a mirror before I pushed again.

I wanted to watch this little miracle come out. Second push he was born,mwith no problems at all. His little mouth was wide open as he screamed his first cries with great strength in his lungs.

He was perfect. I fell in love with him immediately.

I remember the first night waking up and feeling so incredibly empty without his little body inside of me. I called for him to be brought to me to hold him, feed him, change his diaper. I held him so close.

I was going to hold him forever. This was my baby boy and nobody else’s and i loved him with every piece of my soul.

He is now 23 years old, but i remember his new life being created like it was yesterday. His birthday is tomorrow. He is 2000 miles away from me. He’s grown into a beautiful man, talented, handsome, and smart. The world is his oyster, and he is the pearl.

He is just beginning his adulthood and i want him to find his way in life. I want him to be happy. I want him to be fulfilled, loved, and safe.

I want him to know who he is, where his roots are, and that he is loved by his mother so deeply that words can’t describe it.

I want my son to know i am always here for him, even if it’s just for him to know I’m here.

I will always be waiting for him to come home to me if he wants to or needs to.

I will always take his phone call over and above anything else i have going on at the time.

I will always have room for him in my home and will never turn him away.

I will always listen tip every word he says if he chooses to talk to me.

I will believe all of his lies. Take up for him when he’s wrong. Defend him no matter what.

I will always cry when i see him and when he leaves.

I will always wonder what he is up to in his life and Pray he is safe and happy.

I will always worry about him.

I will hope he’s never lost or afraid.

I will always cherish the days i had him with me, before i knew they were numbered. Wishing i had known so i could’ve said things to him i wanted to be sure he knew…

Like he is not motherless..

He is loved..

Unconditionally…

Without judgement, expectations or hesitation.

Happy Birthday my son.

I hope wherever you are, you are content.

I am here. At the other end of the mile, holding the carnival ticket, waiting… Always.


I love love love you.

.

Uncategorized
Blessings for my Son After A Recent Motorcycle Crash

My son is now 19years old, no longer a child of the system, but out on his own. I lost him over ten years ago, never regaining the close-knit relationship we had in his childhood.  The years have taken their toll, on me and on him. My greatest fear has been not to be able to know him again because life is … well … never guaranteed.  You never know…

I found out yesterday that earlier this week he was injured very badly in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, California.

I have read on his Facebook updates that he has several broken bones/ribs, and his left arm had to surgically be rebuilt, with metal pins, rods, etc., and he paralyzed his pinky finger. Thankfully he’s alive, and broken bones seems to be most of the injuries, not any traumatic brain injury sort of thing. Though this will certainly change his life forever in many ways.  Thank god he’s alive. If he hadn’t made it through, well, neither would I have …made it through, that is.

I am in Texas and cannot be with him at the hospital in California.

All I can do is pray and hope he heals up okay and doesn’t develop an addiction to pain medications he’ll likely have to take.

He was taken from me at age 8.  He’s 19 years old now.  This is his second motorcycle crash.  He loves to ride, but it scares me. The next time he may not survive.

We finally reunited at age 18 after ten of the hardest years of my life and his. We only saw each other a couple of times.  Without having a chance to get to know him again, he moved to California in the hopes of pursuing his music career, with much hope for a brighter future. He was attending college and doing very well despite his past obstacles.

This is a link of some of the earlier work of his music that he posted online, he has come quite far in his music, the guitar being the love of his life.  I don’t know how his injuries will effect his playing.

I have been proud of him, but bittersweet in my sadness that he is still so far away from me.

He bought this motorcycle recently, and was very proud of it and happy.  This wreck was serious, but he is alive, thank God.

Please watch for motorcycle riders in the streets, they are killed so often in collisions with cars.

Also, please send healing thoughts and prayers for my son (to the deity of your choice.) Blessings and miracles are needed and so appreciated.

Thank you

Uncategorized
Psychotropic Drugs, Mass Shootings and School Violence

Fact: Despite 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation, and dozens of high profile shootings/killings tied to psychiatric drug use, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence.

Fact: At least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 169 wounded and 79 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs). (Note: these statistic

Fact: Between 2004 and 2012, there have been 14,773 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects including: 1,531 cases of homicidal ideation/homicide, 3,287 cases of mania & 8,219 cases of aggression. Note: The FDA estimates that less than 1% of all serious events are ever reported to it, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.

Fact: It took months for the release of information showing that police had found psychiatric drugs in the apartment of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, James Holmes—including the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.And despite official, legal requests for the release of Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza’s toxicology reports and medical history to ascertain whether psychiatric drugs played a role in the school massacre, the office of the Connecticut medical examiner has refused to release this crucial information to the public, prompting a parent’s rights organization to take the matter to court.

Of the 35 people who committed acts of violence that were documented to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs, twelve were seeing either a psychiatrist or psychologist. See the list of school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence by those on psychiatric drugs here.

School-related acts of violence aren’t the only cases commonly found to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs. There are 18 other recent acts of senseless violence committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in an additional 76 dead and 61 wounded.

The correlation between psychiatric drugs and acts of violence and homicide is well documented – both by international drug regulatory warnings and studies, as well as by hundreds of cases where high profile acts of violence/mass murder were committed by individuals under the influence of psychiatric drugs.

The New York State Senate recognized this as far back as 2000, introducing a bill which would “require police to report to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), certain crimes and suicides committed by persons using psychotropic drugs,” citing “a large body of scientific research establishing a connection between violence and suicide and the use of psychotropic drugs.”

Unfortunately that bill stalled out in the finance committee. By reviewing the international drug regulatory warnings, studies, and adverse reaction reports submitted to the US FDA below, it is evident that the reintroduction of the New York bill is needed on a federal level in order to determine just how many crimes and acts of violence are being committed by individuals under the influence of drugs documented to induce violence, mania, psychosis, aggression, hostility and homicide.

As the world’s leading mental health watchdog, CCHR has for decades investigated hundreds of acts of senseless violence, working alongside investigative reporters, law enforcement, as well as legislative hearings, such as those held in Colorado following the 1999 Columbine massacre (ringleader Eric Harris was found to be under the influence of the antidepressant Luvox, Dylan Klebold’s autopsy reports were never unsealed).

And while there is never one simple explanation for what drives a human being to commit such unspeakable acts, all too often one common denominator has surfaced in hundreds of cases—prescribed psychiatric drugs which are documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence, suicide and in some cases, homicidal ideation. It is an injustice that the general public are not being informed about the well documented links between psychiatric drugs and violence, and so once again we present the facts:

There have been 22 international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions. These warnings have been issued in the United States, European Union, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

In determining what would prompt a person to commit such brutal and senseless crimes, the press must ask the right questions, including: What, if any, prescribed psychotropic drugs the perpetrator may have been on (or in withdrawal from).

Read the international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions.

See the recent study from PLoS One here on psychiatric drugs being linked to violence.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04UqzYOdGNs?rel=0]

Watch this short interview with Michael Moore, author, director and producer of Bowling for Columbine, where he calls for a federal investigation into the link between prescribed drugs and mass shootings such as the 1999 Columbine massacre.

At least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence were committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. It is important to note the following lists cases where the information about the shooters psychiatric drug use was made public.

It took months for the release of information showing that police had found psychiatric drugs in the apartment of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, James Holmes—including the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.

Note that all these mass shootings didn’t just occur in the United States.

Of these 35, twelve were seeing either a psychiatrist or psychologist. It is not known whether or not the others were seeing a psychiatrist, as it has not been published.

  1. Tallahassee, Florida – November 20, 2014: 31-year-old Myron May, a Florida State University alum, opened fire in the school’s library, wounding three before he was shot and killed by police. ABC Action News found a half-filled prescription for the antianxiety drug Hydroxyzine in his apartment after the shooting. In addition, according to May’s friends, he had seen a psychologist and had been prescribed the antidepressant Wellbutrin and the ADHD drug Vyvanse. He also checked himself in to a mental health center called Mesilla Valley Hospital around September of 2014. Shortly after this, his friends discovered the antipsychotic Seroquel among his prescriptions.
  2. Seattle, Washington – June 5, 2014: 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University, killing one student and wounding two others. Ybarra planned to kill as many people as possible and then kill himself. In 2012, Ybarra reported that he had been prescribed the antidepressant Prozac and antipsychotic Risperdal. A report from his counselor in December of 2013 said that he was taking Prozac at the time and planned to continue to meet with his psychiatrist and therapist as needed.
  3. Milford, Connecticut – April 25, 2014: 16-year-old Chris Plaskon stabbed Maren Sanchez, also 16, to death in a stairwell at Jonathan Law High School after she turned down his prom invitation. According to classmates and a former close friend, Chris was taking drugs for ADHD.
  4. Sparks, Nevada – October 21, 2013: 12-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. The investigation revealed that he had been seeing a psychiatrist and had a generic version of Prozac (fluoxetine) in his system at the time of death.
  5. St. Louis, Missouri – January 15, 2013: 34-year-old Sean Johnson walked onto the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts campus and shot the school’s financial aid director once in the chest, then shot himself in the torso. Johnson had been taking prescribed drugs for an undisclosed mental illness.
  6. Snohomish County, Washington – October 24, 2011: A 15-year-old girl went to Snohomish High School where police alleged that she stabbed a girl as many as 25 times just before the start of school, and then stabbed another girl who tried to help her injured friend. Prior to the attack the girl had been taking “medication” and seeing a psychiatrist. Court documents said the girl was being treated for depression.
  7. Planoise, France – December 13, 2010: A 17-year-old youth held twenty pre-school children and their teacher hostage for hours at Charles Fourier preschool. The teen was reported to be on “medication for depression”. He took a classroom hostage with two swords. Eventually, all the children and the teacher were released safely.
  8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – September 21, 2011: 14-year-old Christian Helms had two pipe bombs in his backpack, when he shot and wounded Socastee High School’s “resource” (police) officer. However the officer was able to stop the student before he could do anything further. Helms had been taking drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.
  9. Huntsville, Alabama – February 5, 2010: 15-year-old Hammad Memon shot and killed another Discover Middle School student Todd Brown. Memon had a history for being treated for ADHD and depression. He was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.” He had been seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist.
  10. Kauhajoki, Finland – September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine. He was also seeing a psychologist.
  11. Fresno, California – April 24, 2008: 17-year-old Jesus “Jesse” Carrizales attacked the Fresno high school’s officer, hitting him in the head with a baseball bat. After knocking the officer down, the officer shot Carrizales in self-defense, killing him. Carrizales had been prescribed Lexapro and Geodon, and his autopsy showed that he had a high dose of the antidepressant Lexapro in his blood that could have caused him to be paranoid, according to the coroner.
  12. Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system. He had been seeing a psychiatrist.
  13. Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.
  14. Texas – November 7, 2007: 17-year-old Felicia McMillan returned to her former Robert E. Lee High School campus and stabbed a male student and wounded the principle with a knife. McMillan had been on drugs for depression, and had just taken them the night before the incident.
  15. Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.
  16. Sudbury, Massachusetts – January 19, 2007: 16-year-old John Odgren stabbed another student with a large kitchen knife in a boy’s bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. In court his father testified that Odgren was prescribed the drug Ritalin.
  17. North Vernon, Indiana – December 4, 2006: 16-year-old Travis Roberson stabbed another Jennings County High School student in the neck, nearly severing an artery. Roberson was in withdrawal from Wellbutrin, which he had stopped taking days before the attack.
  18. Hillsborough, North Carolina – August 30, 2006: 19-year-old Alvaro Rafael Castillo shot and killed his father, then drove to Orange High School where he opened fire. Two students were injured in the shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled him. His mother said he was on drugs for depression.
  19. Chapel Hill, North Carolina – April 2006: 17-year-old William Barrett Foster took a shotgun to school and took a teacher and a fellow student hostage at East Chapel Hill High School. After being talked out of shooting the hostages, Foster fired two shots through a classroom window before fleeing the school on foot. Foster’s father testified that his son had stopped taking his antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs without telling him.
  20. Red Lake, Minnesota – March 21, 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 5 students, a security guard, and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.
  21. Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”. He had previously seen a psychiatrist.
  22. Red Lion, Pennsylvania – February 2, 2001: 56-year-old William Michael Stankewicz entered North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School with a machete, leaving three adults and 11 children injured. Stankewicz was taking four different drugs for depression and anxiety weeks before the attacks.
  23. Ikeda, Japan – June 8, 2001: 37-year-old Mamoru Takuma, wielding a 6-inch knife, slipped into an elementary school and stabbed eight first- and second-graders to death while wounding at least 15 other pupils and teachers. He then turned the knife on himself but suffered only superficial wounds. He later told interrogators that before the attack he had taken 10 times his normal dose of antidepressants.
  24. Wahluke, Washington – April 10, 2001: Sixteen-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. He had been taking the antidepressant Effexor.
  25. El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School. He had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
  26. Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.
  27. Oxnard, California – January 2001: 17-year-old Richard Lopez went to Hueneme High School with a gun and shot twice at a car in the school’s parking lot before taking a female student hostage. Lopez was eventually killed by a SWAT officer. He had been prescribed Prozac, Paxil and “drugs that helped him go to sleep.”
  28. Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with the stimulant Ritalin when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.
  29. Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. Harris had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
  30. Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed antidepressant and Ritalin.
  31. Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac. Kinkel had been attending “anger control classes” and was under the care of a psychologist.
  32. Blackville, South Carolina – October 12, 1995: 15-year-old Toby R. Sincino slipped into the Blackville-Hilda High School’s rear entrance, where he shot two Blackville-Hilda High School teachers, killing one. Then Toby killed himself moments later. His aunt, Carolyn McCreary, said he had been undergoing counseling with the Department of Mental Health and was taking Zoloft for emotional problems.
  33. Chelsea, Michigan – December 17, 1993: 39-year-old chemistry teacher Stephen Leith, facing a disciplinary matter at Chelsea High School, shot Superintendent Joseph Piasecki to death, shot Principal Ron Mead in the leg, and slightly wounded journalism teacher Phil Jones. Leith was taking Prozac and had been seeing a psychiatrist.
  34. Houston, Texas – September 18, 1992: 44-year-old Calvin Charles Bell, reportedly upset about his second-grader’s progress report, appeared in the principal’s office of Piney Point Elementary School. Bell fired a gun in the school, and eventually wounded two officers before surrendering. Relatives told police on Friday that Bell was an unemployed Vietnam veteran and had been taking anti-depressants.
  35. Winnetka, Illinois – 20 May 1988: 30-year-old Laurie Wasserman Dann walked into a second grade classroom at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, Illinois carrying three pistols and began shooting children, killing an eight-year-old boy, and wounding five others before fleeing. She entered a nearby house where she shot and wounded a 20-year-old man before killing herself. Dann had been seeing a psychiatrist and subsequent blood tests revealed that at the time of the killings, she was taking the antidepressant Anafranil.

Note: Psychiatric Drugs Can Also Cause Severe Withdrawal Symptoms—Violent and Suicidal Thoughts – Watch This 2 Minute Video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpex0n0DXuc]

18 additional recent murders and murder-suicides, resulting in 76 dead and 61 wounded:

  1. Santa Barbara, California – May 23, 2014: 22-year-old Elliot Rodger stabbed his two roommates at the apartment he shared with them, along with a third person who was visiting. He then drove to a University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) sorority house where he shot three women, killing two of them. Driving again, he exchanged fire with deputies, hit a bicyclist, fired on other people in multiple locations and then killed himself. In all he killed 6 and wounded 13 others before taking his own life. He explained in his manifesto that he had psychiatric drugs and made them part of his plan in ending his own life. On page 133 of the manifesto, Rodgers explains that he’ll shoot himself in the head and “I will quickly swallow all of the Xanax and Vicodin pills I have left….” He explains that if the bullets don’t kill him, the mixture of pills will.
  2. Fort Hood, Texas – April 2, 2014: Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 others before taking his own life. He had been prescribed Ambien, antidepressants and other medications to treat anxiety and depression and had also been examined by a psychiatrist within the month prior and was being evaluated for PTSD.
  3. Washington, DC – September 17, 2013: Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor, opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding eight others before he was killed by police. Alexis had received prescriptions from two Veterans Administration hospitals in August 2013 for the antidepressant Trazodone.
  4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – March 8, 2012: 30-year-old John Shick, former patient of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and former student at nearby Duquesne University, shot and killed one and injured six inside UPMC’s Western Psychiatrist Institute. Nineantidepressants were identified among the drugs police found in Shick’s apartment.
  5. Seal Beach, California – October 12, 2011: Scott DeKraai, a harbor tugboat worker, entered the hair salon where his ex-wife worked, killing her and seven others and injuring one. At DeKraai’s initial hearing, his attorney indicated to the judge that DeKraai was prescribed the antidepressant Trazodone and the “mood stabilizer” Topamax.
  6. Afghanistan – October 17, 2010: Indiana soldier David Lawrencewas taking the two antidepressants – Trazodone and Zoloft – when he killed a top Taliban commander by shooting him in the face in a prison cell. During questioning, David said he imagined all the people he knew being blown up and blacked out before the shooting.
  7. Newport, Maine – October 26, 2009: Perley Goodrich Jr. beat his mother and then shot his father dead shortly after being injected withTrazodone in a psychiatric hospital. Goodrich had complained that he didn’t want to take the medication because it made him feel “violent.”
  8. Lakeland, Florida – May 3, 2009: Toxicology test results showed that 34-year-old Troy Bellar was on Tegretol, a drug prescribed for “bi-polar disorder,” when he shot and killed his wife and two of his three children in their home before killing himself.
  9. Granberry Crossing, Alabama – April 26, 2009: 53-year-old Fred B. Davis shot and killed a police officer and wounded a sheriff’s deputy who had responded to a call that Davis had threatened a neighbor with a gun. Prescription drug bottles found at the scene showed that Davis was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Geodon.
  10. Middletown, Maryland – April 17, 2009: Christopher Wood shot and killed his wife, three small children and himself inside their home. Toxicology test results verified that Wood had been taking the antidepressants Cymbalta and Paxil and the anti-anxiety drugsBuSpar and Xanax.
  11. Concord, California – January 11, 2009: Jason Montes, 33, shot and killed his wife and then himself at home. Montes had earlier begun taking the antidepressant Prozac for depression related to his impending divorce and a recent bankruptcy.
  12. Little Rock, Arkansas – August 14, 2008: Less than 48 hours afterTimothy Johnson shot and killed Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney, the Little Rock Police declared they were investigating shooter’s use of the antidepressant Effexor, which was found in Johnson’s house. A Little Rock city police report later stated that Johnson “was on an antidepressant and that the drug may have played a part in his ‘irrational and violent behavior.’”
  13. Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkinskilled eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the “anti-anxiety” drug Valium.
  14. Fallujah, Iraq – December 31, 2006: Marine Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes killed Iraqi soldier Mutather Jasem Muhammed Hassin by stabbing him 40 times with a combat knife, with some of the wounds piercing his spine. Holmes had been prescribed Trazodone (an antidepressant), Ambien and Valium (both anti-anxiety drugs).
  15. North Meridian, Florida – July 8, 2003: Doug Williams killed five and wounded nine of his fellow Lockheed Martin employees before killing himself. Williams was reportedly taking two antidepressants, Zoloft andCelexa, for depression after a failed marriage.
  16. Wakefield, Massachusetts – December 26, 2000: 42-year-old computer technician Michael McDermott had been taking threeantidepressants when he hunted down employees in the accounting and human resources offices where he worked, killing seven.
  17. Buffalo, New York – May 1, 1998: 37-year-old Juan Roman, an Erie County sheriff’s deputy, pursued his estranged wife into their children’s elementary school and shot her dead, and a school aide was hit in the elbow. Roman was taking antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist.
  18. St. Petersburg, FL – May 25, 1992: 30-year-old David Doyle Rittenhouse shot and killed a man that went on a date with his wife. Rittenhouse said he was taking a drug somewhat similar to the controversial drug Prozac, and that the drug impeded his perception abilities and he thought the man had raped his wife, though he said “He knows it didn’t happen that way – but he said that is what was in his mind.”

As far back as 1991, CCHR, along with numerous experts brought evidence before the US FDA that antidepressants were causing suicide and violence. The heavily Pharma-funded FDA panel ignored the evidence provided, and it would take 14 years, and a great deal of public pressure, for the FDA to finally issue it’s strongest warning, the black box, on antidepressants inducing suicidal ideation. 21 years later, the FDA has yet to issue a black box warning on antidepressants and other classes of psychiatric drugs documented by international regulatory agencies and studies to cause violence. This is not in the public’s interest, who deserve to be warned, it’s in Big Phama’s interest, upon whose funding the FDA heavily relies on.

Uncategorized
What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event.

A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time. However, some people will have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time. These individuals may develop PTSD.

People with PTSD experience three different kinds of symptoms.

1) The first set of symptoms involves reliving the trauma in some way such as becoming upset when confronted with a traumatic reminder or thinking about the trauma when you are trying to do something else.

2) The second set of symptoms involves either staying away from places or people that remind you of the trauma, isolating from other people, or feeling numb.

3) The third set of symptoms includes things such as feeling on guard, irritable, or startling easily.

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In addition to the symptoms described above, we now know that there are clear biological changes that are associated with PTSD.

PTSD is complicated by the fact that people with PTSD often may develop additional disorders such as depression, substance abuse, problems of memory and cognition, and other problems of physical and mental health.

These problems may lead to impairment of the person’s ability to function in social or family life, including occupational instability, marital problems and family problems.

PTSD can be treated with with psychotherapy (“talk” therapy) and medicines such as antidepressants. Early treatment is important and may help reduce long-term symptoms. Unfortunately, many people do not know that they have PTSD or do not seek treatment.

The information in this article will help you to better understand PTSD and the how it can be treated.

How does PTSD develop?

PTSD develops in response to a traumatic event. About 60% of men and 50% of women experience a traumatic event in their lifetime.

Most people who are exposed to a traumatic event will have some of the symptoms of PTSD in the days and weeks after the event.

For some people these symptoms are more severe and long lasting. The reasons why some people develop PTSD are still being studied. There are biological, psychological and social factors that affect the development of PTSD.

Some research shows that ethnic minorities, such as Blacks and Hispanics, are more likely than Whites to develop PTSD. One reason for these differences is that minorities may have more contact with traumatic events.
For example, in Vietnam, Whites were in less combat than Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians.

Researchers are trying to understand other reasons for the differences in PTSD between the ethnic groups. A person’s culture or ethnic group can affect how that person reacts to a problem like PTSD. For example, some people may be more willing than others to talk about their problems or to seek help.

How long does PTSD last?

The course of PTSD is variable. This means it can be different for different people and that it can change over time. PTSD usually begins right after the traumatic event but it can also be physical abuse.

The most traumatic events for women are rape, sexual molestation, physical attack, being threatened with a weapon, and childhood physical abuse.
PTSD is more common in “at-risk” groups such as those serving in combat.

About 30% of the men and women who served in Vietnam experience PTSD. An additional 20% to 25% have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives.

More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans have experienced “clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.” PTSD has also been detected among veterans of other wars. Estimates of PTSD from the Gulf War are as high as 10%.

Estimates from the war in Afghanistan are between 6 and 11%. Current estimates of PTSD in military personnel who served in Iraq range from 12% to 20%.

Who is most likely to develop PTSD?

Most people who experience a traumatic event will not develop PTSD. However, the risk for developing PTSD increases if people:

• were directly exposed to the traumatic event as a victim or a witness

• were seriously injured during the trauma

• experienced a trauma that was long lasting or very severe

• saw themselves or a family member as being in imminent danger

• had a severe negative reaction during the event, such as feeling detached from ones surroundings or having a panic attack

• felt helpless during the trauma and were unable to help themselves or a loved one.

Individuals are also more likely to develop PTSD if they:

• have experienced an earlier life threatening event or trauma

• have a current mental health issue

• have less education

• are younger

• are a woman

• lack social support

• have recent, stressful life changes.

Some research shows that ethnic minorities, such as Blacks and Hispanics, are more likely than Whites to develop PTSD. One reason for these differences is that minorities may have more contact with traumatic events.

For example, in Vietnam, Whites were in less combat than Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians. Researchers are trying to understand other reasons for the differences in PTSD between the ethnic groups.

A person’s culture or ethnic group can affect how that person reacts to a problem like PTSD. For example, some people may be more willing than others to talk about their problems or to seek help.

What other problems do people with PTSD experience?

It is very common for other conditions to occur along with PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse.

More than half of men with PTSD also have problems with alcohol. The next most common co-occurring problems in men are depression, followed by conduct disorder, and then problems with drugs.

In women, the most common co-occurring problem is depression. Just under half of women with PTSD also experience depression.

The next most common co-occurring problems in women are specific fears, social anxiety, and then problems with alcohol.

People with PTSD often have problems functioning.

In general, people with PTSD have more unemployment, divorce or separation, spouse abuse and chance of being fired than people without PTSD. Vietnam veterans with PTSD were found to have many problems with family and other interpersonal relationships, problems with employment, and increased incidents of violence.

People with PTSD also may experience a wide variety of physical symptoms. This is a common occurrence in people who have depression and other anxiety disorders. Some evidence suggests that PTSD may be associated with increased likelihood of developing medical disorders.

Research is ongoing, and it is too soon to draw firm conclusions about which disorders are associated with PTSD. PTSD is associated with a number of distinctive neurobiological and physiological changes. PTSD may be associated with stable neurobiological alterations in both the central and autonomic nervous systems, such as altered brainwave activity, decreased volume of the hippocampus, and abnormal activation of the amygdala.

Both the hippocampus and the amygdala are involved in the processing and integration of memory. The amygdala has also been found to be involved in coordinating the body’s fear response.