‘Myth’ of False Memory Syndrome, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma

December 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

‘Myth’ of False Memory Syndrome. The Daily Mail (London, England) ;  March 14, 2000
VICTIMS of childhood trauma who ‘recover’ memories in later life are unlikely to be suffering from False Memory Syndrome, say psychologists….a study in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology says as many as one-third of adults with recovered memories have already started to remember traumatic events before seeing a therapist. It says memory recovery techniques are far less likely to trigger recall than real-life events involving the victim’s own children or having a baby.
Dr. Bernice Andrews, senior lecturer in psychology at Royal Halloway, University of London, who led the team involved, said there was consistent evidence that False Memory Syndrome could not explain all or even most examples of recovered memories. ‘In many ways recovered memories are similar to those of victims affected by traumas that have never been in doubt, such as the King’s Cross fire,’ she said. ‘The memories were fragmented but detailed, accompanied by high levels of fear as they relive the event. Between 40 and 50 per cent of adults who have recovered memories from events as children have independent corroboration of them, she said. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/%27Myth%27+of+False+Memory+Syndrome.-a0109626781

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma – Editorial, Charles L. Whitfield
published in Whitfield CL: Adverse childhood experience and trauma. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4):361-364, May, 1998 “If the trauma is accepted as real and the victims’ or survivor’s experience is validated and its expression supported, as happened in the Oklahoma City bombing incident, its short-term effects, also know as acute traumatic stress (American Psychiatric Association 1994), can be expressed, processed, ameliorated, or “metabolized” in a healthy way so that eventually few or no lasting detrimental effects remain (Herman 1992). However, if the reality of the traumatic experience is denied or invalidated by the victim-or by close or important others, such as family, friends, or helping professionals-then the person may not be able to heal completely from the adverse effects of the trauma. If the trauma continues, with still no validation and support in expressing its associated pain, it may develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which Rowan & Foy (1993) and others believe is a core disorder among unrecovered survivors of trauma.” http://www.cbwhit.com/ACEs.htm

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study:
(Summary by Charles L. Whitfield MD)
Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Nordenberg D et al: The relationship of adult health status to childhood abuse & household dysfunction. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 14(4):245-258, May 1998
This important study was conducted on a large number of people (9,508 respondents of 13,494 [70.5%]). These were adults who were recently medically evaluated and then completed a 68 question survey about 7 categories of childhood trauma (adverse childhood experiences[ACEs]). The authors found that a large percentage of this general medical population reported the following traumatic experiences from their childhood….
Two Other Studies Show Similar Results
McCauley J, Kern DE, Kolodner K et al: Clinical characteristics of women with a history of childhood abuse: unhealed wounds. JAMA 277 (17): 1362-1368, 1997
Here, 424 of 1,931 women surveyed (22%) reported physical or sexual abuse during childhood or adolescence. When compared to the 88% who did not so report, those with abuse histories had more: physical symptoms (p<.001) and higher scores for : depression, anxiety (fear), somatization (physical symptoms and problems) and low self-esteem (p<.001), and more likely to: abuse drugs+/or alcohol, have attempted suicide, have a psychiatric hospital admission, have difficulty in relationships and less likely to be married. Half of those abused as children reported being abused as adults.
Walker E, Koss M, Bernstein D et al: Long-term medical outcomes of women with childhood sexual, physical or emotional victimization. Preliminary data, 1997….
Child abuse was associated with : 1) worse self-rating of health, 2) increased: * illness, * doctor office visits, * functional disability, * sexual and OB/GYN problems, *somatization, * dangerous risk taking (e.g. drinking and driving, alcohol abuse, smoking, not using seat belts, unprotected sex, promiscuity, overweight), and * current medical symptoms.

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