Adolescence is a difficult time characterized by many developmental changes. Add to it a traumatic experience and your child has a high chance of developing PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition in which your kid can experience extreme anxiety, fear, and depression.
The world appears to be a harsh place for teens grappling with PTSD. They unintentionally suffer from painful recollections of past trauma making PTSD a nuisance in the world of mental health. To treat PTSD, you have to delve deep into its source that’s triggering memories of past trauma.
We will approach the sensitive subject of PTSD sequentially to impart deep knowledge about this menacing mental health problem.
How Do You Recognize PTSD In Teens?
A traumatic incident can instill fear in the heart of the child making him/her exhibit behavior that is a sign of PTSD.
The nature of the trauma may differ from child to child but they all lead to the same symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms of PTSD in teens are:
- Flashbacks during the day and nightmares while sleeping
- Hyper-vigilance and distrust towards everyone; being extra watchful
- Sudden outbursts and irritability towards the smallest of inconvenience
- Low confidence, focus, self-esteem, and mental agility
- Nervousness leading to bedwetting
- Psychological numbness
- A constant need to escape reality
Common Causes Of PTSD In Teens?
PTSD follows a traumatic experience. PTSD can be induced by the following events:
- Violent assault – Somebody tried to harm the kid physically maybe during a robbery or someone else’s murder.
- Sexual abuse – It leaves a deep mark on the teen’s brain because it uproots their rational thinking, trust, and beliefs.
- Vehicle accidents – The kid was part of a vehicle crash (car, bus, train, etc.) where he/she lost a loved one.
- Animal bites – For instance, if a teen is bitten by a dog, he/she will become hyper-vigilant around street dogs while walking on the road because they believe all dogs are out there to bite.
- Witnessing natural disasters – If a kid loses his/her home or family member to a natural disaster like an earthquake or tsunami.
- Communal violence and war – One of the most dreadful things for a child to experience, they can leave a life-long impact on the child.
- Personal loss for any reason – Losing a family member can induce PTSD in a child.
- Excessive bullying – Public embarrassment can be a lot to deal with for some teens.
Risk Factors That Develop PTSD In Teens?
The severity of the incident decides the extent of PTSD in teens. For instance, if something happened to a kid or a loved one in front of his/her eyes, he/she might experience severe symptoms of PTSD. Extremely violent situations that involve bloodshed also mean intense PTSD symptoms. Other reasons include:
- If the incident happens repeatedly, it will increase the chances of developing PTSD
- Support and treatment received by the child after the traumatic incident
Treatments For PTSD In Teens?
Mental health professionals take more nuanced and subtle modalities to PTSD in teens. They tailor the same methods in a way to suit the child’s individual needs. Here are a few approaches taken by professionals.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) fine-tuned to focus on trauma
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Play Therapy
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
How To Help Your Child Through The Process?
There is no quick fix for PTSD in teens. You cannot explain to them that life happens and they should simply move on. You have to be exceptionally patient and understanding so that you can extend the right kind of support to your child.
What Happens In The Long Run If You Leave PTSD Untreated?
Some parents tend to neglect the signs of PTSD in teens thinking they might fade away with time. However, if you leave PTSD untreated, your kid is at risk of the following:
- Self-harm practices
- Low focus leads to poor academic performance
- No interest in taking challenges
- Inability to develop solid relationships
What Can I Do To Help Myself?
If you have PTSD and are looking for answers here, here’s what you should start with:
- Confide your emotions in a trusted adult
- Seek professional help
- Take PTSD treatment seriously
- Find your triggers and report them
- Keep good company
- Have self-belief