Emma (skieblue) wrote in little_details,

Injuries from torture and how to help someone deal with the psychological trauma

I hope I am doing this correctly, as this is my first time posting to this community. I have some information that I need for a story I am working on, and the story is basically at a standstill until I get this information.

The story's setting is modern-day, but the location is a little more difficult to describe. It is kind of an alternate universe type-setting that is primarily based on Europe. (Northern Europe to be as specific as I can get)

I am going to put the rest of this post behind a cut because of the subject matter.

The first bit of information I need involves what my main character's physical condition would be. The character managed to make the wrong people angry, and ended up getting kidnapped and tortured. He was a prisoner for around four to five weeks. The villains want to keep him alive; they are merely trying to teach him a lessen about minding his own business. However, they end up going too far, and rather than risk having the character die, they abandon him somewhere where they can be sure he will be found. (Since that's the only thing they can think of to do that would keep them from getting caught.) So, the character has one serious injury that requires immediate treatment, and several smaller injuries that are in various stages of healing. I'm thinking that the smaller injuries are mainly cuts and bruises.

The information I need the most help with here is: What could the serious injury be? It has to be something that could have been fatal if it wasn't treated immediately. However it also has to be something that would not cause any permanant disability or serious disfigurement.

Also, should he have more minor injuries than just the cuts and bruises. The cuts were the result of the torturer inflicted several small cuts to various places on the character's body. This is intended to be painful, but was done in such a way to make sure that major veins or arteries would be cut. It also may have been done more than once. The character was also beaten a couple of times, which is where the bruises came from. The main thing I am wondering is if he should have any fractured or broken bones from the beatings. The other things that were done to him were things that would not leave noticeable physical injuries.

The other bit of information I need involves the psychological trauma he suffers and how his family can help him deal with that (after they manage to find him.) The main character is almost completely unresponsive at first, to the point of being catatonic. (I have looked up information on catatonia, but most of what I have found deals with catatonic schizophrenia. Also, all treatment information that I found involved medical treatment, which although it is still useful for the story wasn't what I was looking for.) The character's family finds him shortly after he is brought to the hospital (within two days at the most), so he is still completely unresponsive. They are going to do everything they can to help him, and try to get him to respond to them, but I'm not sure what they can do. (I mean, I know they can talk to him, and try to make him realize that he is safe now, but I'm not sure if they're anything else they should do.)

Eventually, the character will begin to at least acknowledge them, but he won't speak or communicate in any other way. This is because the torturers punished him everytime he spoke, so he is now afraid to communicate with anyone. Is this at all believable, and is there any treatment for it? I'm guessing this is something that he would need professional help to overcome, rather than something his family could help him with.

As I was typing this up, I thought of a couple of extra questions. How long might be kept in the hospital? (And I know this depends on what the serious injury is.) After he had recovered enough from his physical injuries to leave the hospital, where would be be sent to? I'm assuming they wouldn't let him go home with his family until was no longer unresponsive.

Here are few other details about the characters, if this makes any difference in the answers. The main character is nineteen. His parents are out of the picture, and have been for a few years. He would have his oldest brother listed as his next of kin. The oldest brother is in his midtwenties. (There is another older brother and a younger brother in the family as well. The oldest one has custody of the youngest, who is sixteen. And the older brothers are doing everything they can to keep the youngest one from being too involved in any of this.)

Here is the research I have done:

Googled: Injuries from torture, Catatonia, Catatonia from trauma, Trauma-induced catatonia,
Trauma-induced catatonia treatment, Catatonia treatment, Stupor, Trauma-induced stupor (I only found results about comas and head-injuries with these last two.), Trauma-induced mutism (this came up as a suggestion when I was looking for trauma-induced catatonia, but the results only came with selective mutism, and only talked about children)

Wikipedia: Torture, List of methods of torture (looked at the specific pages for beating and cutting), Catatonia, Stupor, and Selective mutism (only contained information about when it occurs in children)

I couldn't think of anything else to search under, and none of this brought up quite the information I was looking for. I also asked these same questions on the "Reference Desk" at the NaNoWriMo site, but since it is the off-season now, there aren't many people around, and I haven't gotten a response yet.
Tags: ~medicine: injuries to order, ~mute/unable to talk, ~psychology & psychiatry: ptsd, ~torture

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