Posttraumatic stress disorder affects not only adults but also children. In fact, its impact can be worse to them than on adults. It is a serious condition that no parent would like his or her children to suffer from and live with.
So if your child has PTSD, what do you need to know about it and things you can do to help your kid? It begins with understanding its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options. Let’s discuss more of that in the following.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Occur in Children
It occurs after a traumatic event that the child finds horrifying or terrifying emotionally or physically.
When it happens, you might find that your kid is having frightening memories, thoughts or flashbacks of that specific event.
For some kids, the effects of PTSD do not show until six months following that traumatic event.
But then, other kids suffer from it immediately after the event and can have the symptoms fading after three months.
Unfortunately, the majority of PTSD affected children suffer from it chronically.
Traumatic Events Triggering PTSD in Children
- Accidents, such as train or car wrecks
- Natural disasters,, such as earthquake, hurricane or floods
- Invasive/inappropriate medical procedures especially among children under six years old
- Terrorist attacks or man-made tragedies
- Animal bites such as cat or dog bite
- Violence/physical abuse, torture, kidnapping or being held captive, mugging
- Divorce of parents
- Sexual assault or molestation
These are only some of the events that trigger PTSD in children. One’s risk of developing the disorder is sometimes affected by his/her relationship or proximity to the cause of the trauma and its severity. It is also affected by the traumatic duration of the event and its recurrence.
Finally, PTSD in kids is also influenced by his/her coping skills and resiliency as well as the support resources he/she can get from the community and family.
PTSD Symptoms That Appear in Diagnosis
Posttraumatic stress disorder affected children can exhibit at least one of the following symptoms.
- Re-experiencing of the trauma through recollections of the event, nightmares, flashbacks
- Staying away from the places, activities or people that can remind them of the trauma
- Emotional numbness that they cannot feel any emotion
- Depression that persists, giving them difficulty to live at the moment as all they have are depressive and negative thoughts
- Insomnia that they have trouble sleeping at night
- Absence of an appetite that they cannot seem to enjoy their favorite foods anymore
- Loss of interest in things that he/she used to enjoy that he/she can no longer perform routine and do the things that used to interest him/her
- Aggressiveness that they get easily angered or feel irritated even with the smallest things
- Endless sense of phobia that they cannot seem to appreciate but fear just about anything
- Speech disorders like stuttering and speech problems, which a speech therapist can help them with to improve communication and language skills
- Difficulty concentrating that they cannot seem to focus their attention to whatever they’re doing
A qualified mental health professional, psychologist or psychiatrist can diagnose PTSD in children/adolescents through a psychiatric evaluation.
If you notice signs of PTSD in your child, you should seek professional help to prevent/reduce any future problems.
PTSD can be diagnosed if the symptoms are present for at least one month, and they’re affecting a kid’s function and life.
PTSD Treatment and Tips for Parents
The following are some treatment options and tips to help your child with PTSD.
- Psychotherapy for children (or talk therapy), what does this include? This psychiatric treatment involves therapeutic interactions and conversations with a child/family and a therapist. This therapy can help families and children resolve problems by understanding them. In some cases, combining psychotherapy interventions, techniques and approaches with medication can be helpful.
- Psychotherapy for parents involves a therapy for the parents whose children have PTSD because they also somehow go through the traumatic experience. The sessions involve the parent/caregiver and the child with the main purpose of strengthening and supporting their relationship in order to restore the child’s behavioral, cognitive and social functioning. The therapy can also focus on the contextual factors affecting their relationship.
- Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) is another treatment option for children who have been experiencing trauma. This therapy focuses on the emotional needs of the child. It also addresses the social environment where a child is living in. Overall, it’s about understanding the PTSD symptoms as well as building the family’s dreams and strengths.
- Medications: In terms of medication, the most common ones include anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications to help a child be more in control and feel calmer so that he or she can apply the coping skills taught at psychotherapy. And if the child is also having a speech therapy, medications for the PTSD, can also help him focus to learn language and communication skills faster.
In addition, CBD Oil is another emerging treatment option for PTSD sufferers because it can help in dampening the emotional impact and strength of a traumatic memory or event. More so, administering a dose of it, with guidance of a weed doctor, can help in preventing PTSD symptoms development.
Are you ready to help your child with PTSD?
Equipping yourself with knowledge and understanding the symptoms and treatment options for your child with PTSD, you can help him/her cope up and improve life quality.
Help your child. Don’t think twice in seeking help from professionals for counseling, speech therapy, intervention and medication, among others mentioned earlier.