Registrants and PTSD Screening
Periodically registrants in Sex Offender Group Therapy (you know, that “one-size-fits-all” group therapy that most registrants on supervision are mandated to attend after release from prison) are asked to fill out a screening questionnaire. The questionnaire asks about their basic mental health status. The government officials want to make sure no registrant kills themselves or someone else while on their dime. (Actually, it’s not even their dime, registrants are required to pay for this “one-size-fits-all” treatment unless they can prove they are indigent, but that’s another story.)
Registrants are asked questions about whether they are homicidal, suicidal, depressed, etc.
Let’s be honest, the registry and all it’s restrictions is enough to make anyone feel homicidal or suicidal. Many registrants isolate themselves, seldom leaving their homes for fear of accidentally crossing imaginary boundary lines into exclusionary zones and landing back in prison. While P.O.’s encourage them to “go out, meet people, have fun, live your life” the reality of that is easier said than done. There are so many places that registrants “can’t” go, so many social venues that registrants “can’t” access, meeting new people, having fun, living a life, can seem an unfathomable task.
If registrant’s need screening for anything, it may be for PTSD/Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is a serious and potentially debilitating disorder. It can occur in people who have experienced a traumatic or stressful event according to the DSM-5/Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s online Screening Exam for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is easy to take and may be an initial self-help guide for some registrants. It can be found at ADAA.org.
There’s a very good chance that as a registrant you will answer “yes” to many of the questions. (Doesn’t necessarily mean you have PTSD, that’s for your physician to decide).
The questions deal with the emotions many registrants seem to feel “all the time”, fear, helplessness, distressing memories, flashbacks, avoidance, loss of interest, feeling detached from others, feeling as though your future has shrunk. Registrants experience sleep problems, irritability, feeling “on guard” and having exaggerated startle responses. Problems with eating, sleeping, feelings of sadness, worthlessness and a general disinterest in life, all issues that share a common thread with registrants. Registrants who are restricted in where they can go and what they can do will naturally have a diminished interest in participating in activities, this can lead to estrangement and isolation from others and an increase in other symptoms such as depression, irritability and wreckless “I just don’t care anymore” type behaviors.
These symptoms may be signs of PTSD, you’ll need to see your physician for an accurate diagnosis.
If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, it might be worth it to take the screening exam on the ADAA.org website, print it off and review the results with your physician. Registrants have been through a lot. It’s not just the registry, it’s also everything that has come “before” being placed on the registry, encounters with police or FBI, attorneys, court cases, financial problems, family problems, incidents in prison, etc. All of that is traumatic, it weighs on you. Add the weight of the registry and it’s life altering restrictions and you’ve got trauma on top of trauma. It’s a lot to deal with.
Talk with your physician, if you are diagnosed with PTSD or any other mental health issues, treatment is available. Don’t isolate and suffer, get some help so you can feel better and live your best life. You’re worth it!
It’s time for the Sex Offender Treatment Counselors, the P.O.’s and the BOP (the powers that be) to address the “elephant in the room”, the registry.
If it wasn’t for the registry and it’s ridiculous restrictions, those convicted of sex offenses might actually be able to pick up the pieces and resume a normal life upon leaving prison, they might not be experiencing ongoing symptoms of fear, stress, depression, etc.
To me, it appears that the registry itself might be a giant factor as far as the cause of the negative mental health symptoms that so many registrants experience.
Maybe if there was some screening for PTSD early on, we might not get to the point where we have to ask registrants if they feel homicidal or suicidal.
Maybe if we did away with the registry, we might not have to ask at all.
6 thoughts on “Registrants and PTSD Screening”
You say “Take the screening exam on the ADAA.org website” but many on the registry, especially those newly out of jail and still on probation, are not allowed to be on the internet. In some cases, they are not even allowed to have a computer in the same house with them. They cannot apply for a job online, leading to reduced employment possibilities (talk about feeling like your future has shrunk!), and social isolation.
Small wonder that many registrants feel depressed and suicidal!
It is so heart wrenching to hear these stories- first I want to say that I am sorry and hope love changes everyone’s hearts. Second, that the registry should be taken down for the damage it’s causing to people on the registry and their families and friends
I feel lost. At 19 I met a girl who told me she was 18. I got involved with her only to find out she was underage. I broke it off as soon as I found out, but she was pregnant and I was told.the child was mine. No DNA was taken. Only blood type. And a 10 year registration turned into lifetime. I put on a strong face. But I know that this is a situation that is affecting every part of my life. From my ability to take care of my family to my ability to even find a place to live. I really think I am suffering from PTSD or Depression because of it and I don’t know what to do….
God bless you, that is exactly why this unconstitutional bs needs to stop. If these asinine laws were in affect when I met my husband , I would have missed out on the happiest 38 years of my life and him an AirForce career. I have a family member right now facing this. I’m the one w ptsd and severe anxiety and other disorders from it.
I have been diagnosed with PTSD. Losing my children to false allegations is like my children died, but I didn’t get to go to the funerals. I take medication that helps but it still doesn’t make me feel like a human or the man, the strong man, I used to be. My medication make me so forgetful and it’s not an excuse but I forgot to register last April and now I face three years in prison. I’ve been going through this now for 25 years for a crime that never happened. My nightmares at night find me still in prison calling my mother saying I know it’s time to go home;I’ve been here too long! What can we do? I pray everyday for mental stability. I’m glad I have my parents and my fiance. I would love to meet new friends and have a good job, but I’m restricted to live in My Own Prison created by the registry. Thank you for listening and know that I’m praying for changes to take away this disease of leprosy placed on me. Things will change. However, I don’t know that it will ever happen in my lifetime. God bless us each and every one. I spent 4 years in prison so my ex-wife could gain sole custody of my children. I take it one day at a time. I once was the highest elected official in my county as Clark County coroner. I made a lot of good changes in laws until all this happened. Now those that can change the laws don’t even return my calls. There will be sunshine tomorrow and I will be there to share it with you all. God bless you all.
As someone who had family support. Never been homeless. I have been impacted by in many ways. Haven’t had the extreme hardship the registry has caused many others. And just knowing the extreme cases it causes people makes me lose sleep at night.