Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Children

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Children

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is caused by traumatic events that have occurred in someone’s life. It could be anything from experiencing abuse, to losing an important friend or family member. Traumatic events like these can sometimes have a long-term effect on someone and the way they behave. With children, traumatic events can be especially difficult because they are so young, and it is hard for them to really understand what is happening in the moment. It is also hard for children to decipher their feelings on their own, and that’s when it’s important to identify your child’s PTSD as soon as you can. Here are some ways to identify and treat PTSD.

 

Some signs of PTSD are:

  • Having nightmares and trouble sleeping
  • Unexplained fear 
  • Become more anxious than usual
  • Blocking out the traumatic event that took place
  • Avoiding people or places that remind them of the traumatic event
  • Depression

Events that can cause PTSD:

  • Physical/emotional abuse
  • Losing someone important to you
  • Witnessing a violence against someone 
  • Bullying
  • Natural disasters
  • Accidents (car, train etc…)

 

Treatment for PTSD

If you suspect your child of having PTSD, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to diagnose the severity before choosing how to handle it. Knowing exactly what you’re dealing with before choosing a treatment is important so you’re not putting your child through something that isn’t working, and could possibly make the PTSD worse. Using psychotherapy or even art therapy can be a great way to help your child handle their PTSD. Art therapy can be especially helpful for children that may not like speaking about the traumatic events that they’ve experienced. Having them draw pictures of what happened or maybe having them write a story of their choosing, can be a noninvasive way of getting to the bigger picture. 

To find more resources on PTSD and ways to help your child overcome the disorder, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Children | CDC

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