The Psychology of Adoption – Adoptees Pt1

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You Are Here:The Psychology of Adoption – Adoptees Pt1

Here I’m going to list off a few psychology traits which have directly impacted on those who are adopted.

I read somewhere that, trying to describe what it’s like being adopted is akin to telling someone they just lost all their family in a car crash. Get over it. Of course the difference is that there is a pre-memory of this family for that someone, which I will explain in the next part.

Adoption Footprints
Adoption is the only condition which doesn’t really describe what’s happened. Talking about adoption is a denial of relinquishment. It speaks about the end result, not the cause nor affect.

  • Relinquishment wounds can be seen as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

    Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. But with time and taking care of yourself, such traumatic reactions usually get better. In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years. Sometimes they may completely shake up your life. In a case such as this, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Getting treatment as soon as possible after post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms develop may prevent long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • It is not uncommon for an adoptee to have an addictive disorder. Addictions are about feelings of shame and anxiety. It’s a fixation on an attempt to manage an insecurity. Some not so forefront addictions include: eating disorders and workaholics “as long as I keep busy then I don’t have to feel anxious”. Addictions become places to put anxiety to make the inexplicable, explicable.
  • Addiction is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavior problem involving alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, experts contend in a new definition of addiction, one that is not solely related to problematic substance abuse.

    “The disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them,” Hajela said in a statement. “Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviors are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause.”

  • Addiction is genetically proposed and environmentally disposed.
  • Based on what is known about addiction, adoptees who suffer do so because of a brain disorder caused at birth by the trauma of separation. From thereon it becomes evident through particular displayed behaviour.

  • 90% of adoptees are diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Nancy Verrier
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

    Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms. But they can learn strategies to be successful.

    While treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.

  • Needless to say Depression is also the result of these volatile feelings. Depression is held in the body but not so noticable in adoptees. Goldberg’s depression test score of 22 when on medication in a non-adopted person, an adopted person will sit at about 30.

    Depression can arise from a combination of genetic vulnerability, suboptimal early developmental experiences, and exposure to stresses. How children respond to different stressors is different depending on the child’s personality and situation. Most children become silent and do not open up to the parents about what is wrong and what is bothering them. Symptoms go unnoticed because of a tendency of depression to have an insidious onset in children, and because symptoms may fluctuate in intensity (Hazell, 2002).

    Children with depressive disorders lack interest in activities that they previously enjoyed, criticize themselves, pessimistic and hopeless about the future. They tend to have lack of energy, have problems at school, have trouble sleeping, may have stomach aches and headaches (Hazell, 2002). Depressed kids do not look like depressed adults: they are often irritable, rather than sad and withdrawn. Depressed kids showed less pleasure in play and some explored themes of death (Kalb & Raymond, 2003). It was found that bipolar disorder, an ongoing cycle of depression and mania, can easily be confused with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It was observed that bipolar kids are more prone to elated moods, grandiose thoughts and daredevil acts. They also have more rapid periods of depression and mania.




    Now that the underlying illnesses have been addressed Part 2 will uncover some of the more direct affects which being adopted can have on a person. These will include physical symptoms, function and behaviour.




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