What Causes PTSD In Teens?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (commonly known as PTSD) is the mental, emotional and physical fallout that follows a traumatic event or situation. Because of their highly sensitive nature and underdeveloped coping skills, children and teens are especially susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder. Traumatic events or a negative and unstable lifestyle can easily overwhelm a child or teen, leaving them to feel that the world is an unsafe, dangerous or out-of-control place. Some situations and events that may trigger PTSD in adolescents and teens include: violent assaults (such as rape or physical attacks), bullying, car accidents, senseless acts of violence (such as school shootings), natural disasters, sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse, domestic violence in the home, a traumatic divorce or family separation or serious illness.
Studies have shown that approximately 14 to 43 percent of children and teens will experience at least one traumatic event. Of these children, approximately three to 15 percent of girls and one to percent of boys will develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
EFFECTS OF PTSD IN ADOLESCENTS AND TEENS
Adolescents that are dealing with PTSD can find themselves in a downward spiral of thoughts and actions that can be difficult to get out of without proper help and guidance. Untreated PTSD in teens may result in a number concurrent illnesses and disorders, including:
Inability to form bonds with others
Inappropriate sexual behavior
Self-harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Borderline personality disorder
SYMPTOMS OF POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IN ADOLESCENTS AND TEENS
Children and adolescents that have been through any sever trauma often have post-traumatic stress symptoms that can last for months or even years after the event. The severity of symptoms depends greatly on family support, the victim’s proximity to the event and how soon treatment for PTSD is sought. Symptoms of PTSD will typically develop within the first three months following the traumatic event, but may not surface for months or years later.
Common symptoms of PTSD in children and teens include:
Marked change in behavior, such as reckless behavior or angry outbursts
Regression to past childlike tendencies (such as bedwetting or sucking a thumb)
Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities
Complaints of headaches and stomach aches
Shying away from physical contact
Appears shaky or nervous and stressed out
Increased arousal and hyper-vigilance
“Flashbacks” of the traumatic event
Trouble concentrating in school
Avoidance of memories or situations that trigger memories of the event
Unfounded fears or consuming worry
Inability to trust others
ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY: LOS ANGELES
Proper treatment following the traumatic event is vital to prevent PTSD complications. With proper evaluation, treatment and support, most children and teens who have PTSD will recover and go on to live happy and productive lives. If your child is struggling with PTSD or having trouble coping with a traumatic life event, it is key that you seek professional help, as soon as possible. Proper mental health treatment can help a child or teen develop the coping skills necessary to resume their daily lives.