PTSD in Special Needs Parents

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is typically heard in the context of war veterans. You can develop PTSD from any experience that’s painful or upsetting, including caring for a special needs child. How does this happen?

  • Long NICU stays where the child is on the verge of death.
  • Babies so pre-mature they need constant 24/7 care to survive.
  • Hospital admissions for life-threatening infections.
  • Finding out your child has a life-altering and lifespan shortening diagnosis and watching them fight it every day.

There are many more examples. I wanted to name just a few to make my point clear. Almost every special needs parent is at some level of risk for PTSD. They are constantly exposed to situations that are extremely stressful where the results are completely out of their control. All the while, something bad is happening to someone they love more than anyone else in the world (except their other children of course).

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