Separation Trauma

This subject comes up frequently in adoptee groups.  Also mentioned is RAD – Radical Attachment Disability.

Children are seriously harmed when they are separated from their parents. There has been quite a bit of research that proves that harm.  When a court becomes involved in a child welfare case, it is important to balance the harm of removing a child with the risk of abuse or neglect that the child faces by remaining in the home.

When that is apparently necessary, it is still important to preserve a child’s relationship with their family of birth.  The effects of separation from their original parents on children is always devastating.  Such children are at increased risk for
developing heart disease, diabetes, and even certain forms of cancer.  Even when children are in the care of parents who may not be able to meet their needs, they still organize their behaviors and thinking around these relationships and go to great lengths to maintain them.

Other ways that separation from their original family can impact children includes developmental regression, difficulty sleeping, depression and generally acute stress.

The younger a child is when they’re exposed to the stress of separation, the more likely it is that they will have negative health outcomes caused by dysregulation of stress hormones and a response to that flood of them.  That dysregulated stress response can lead to architectural changes in the brain.

Family separation may also lead to long-term chronic medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity and decreased longevity.

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