Thursday, July 11, 2024

How To Help A Child With Ptsd

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What Can Cause Ptsd In A Child

How Do You Explain PTSD to Children?

Sadly, childhood trauma can lead to the symptoms of PTSD occurring before the age of 18. Children who are abused or neglected by a parent, guardian or another person of power may later experience PTSD.

Other traumatic events that could cause PTSD in a child include, but are not limited to

  • The death of a family member
  • Witnessing someone else being killed or badly hurt
  • Witnessing violence in their own neighborhood
  • Witnessing a shooting on the street or in school
  • Experiencing a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or fire
  • Experiencing a war or conflict
  • Experiencing or witnessing a serious car crash
  • Being bitten by an animal

However, sometimes PTSD can occur after hearing about a traumatic event, rather than experiencing or witnessing it. A child may develop PTSD after hearing about the violent death of a parent, for example. Although the child was not physically exposed to the trauma, their indirect exposure can be enough to cause symptoms.

Developing Practical Predictors Of Psychological Outcomes

The limited research to date assessing risk for ongoing distress after trauma exposure has identified some indicators of risk but no reliable way to gauge whether a given child will recover on his or her own or will require some intervention. More research is needed in this area, including the development of well-validated risk assessment tools that can be feasibly implemented in diverse settings and for diverse traumatic events and that will help identify the high-risk youth and families who are in need of clinical services.

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  • Ways To Help Children With Post

    Public Services Health and Safety Association

    Dealing with my sons PTSD and anxiety turned into a healing process for the both of us.

    Dealing with my sons PTSD and anxiety turned into a healing process for the both of us.

    Dealing with my sons PTSD and anxiety turned into a healing process for the both of us.

    When my son was nine, he was in a car crash. A taxi ran a red light and slammed into the side of his best friends fathers car. Thankfully no one died, but there were a few broken bones and concussions. Those healed, but my sons psychological trauma took a bit more time and effort to treat and heal. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He couldnt leave the house after the accident. Seeing a car made it difficult to breathe for him, and getting into one caused a full blown panic attack. Little things became triggers and, suddenly, everything was just too much for him. I never knew much about adolescent anxiety disorders, and professionals neglected studying them until recently.

    But I didnt want to be a stressor for my son. I wanted him to be the best he could be. I wanted to help him manage his anxiety. Together, with my sons therapist, we learned the best steps on how to treat his anxiety, and theyve made all the difference in the world to us.

    Take your time

    Little steps first

    Talk about the what and the why

    Come up with contingency plans

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    Recommended Reading: Is Anxiety A Form Of Depression

    How Mental Health Professionals Can Help

    Mental health professionals have an important role in facilitating the recovery of children, adolescents, and families when traumatic events occur. Opportunities to help can come about by working with first responders and community organizations that serve families with children, by working with existing clients who experience trauma, and by reaching out to help children and families affected by trauma in their community. Psychologists and other mental health providers can also register with the American Psychological Associations Disaster Response Network or volunteer their services through their local chapter of the American Red Cross.

    In addition, mental health providers can obtain training in developmentally and culturally appropriate evidence-based therapies for child trauma to effectively treat those children who do not recover on their own. The opportunity to help is not limited to those who specialize in working with children. Mental health professionals who treat adults have the opportunity to identify and provide support to the potentially trauma-affected offspring of the adults. Mental health professionals can provide consultation to other professionals about responding to trauma-exposed children, adolescents, and families. With special training and preparation, mental health professionals can participate in disaster or emergency response teams in their community.

    Communication Pitfalls To Avoid

    • Give easy answers or blithely tell your loved one everything is going to be okay.
    • Stop your loved one from talking about their feelings or fears.
    • Offer unsolicited advice or tell your loved one what they should do.
    • Blame all of your relationship or family problems on your loved ones PTSD.
    • Invalidate, minimize, or deny your loved ones traumatic experience
    • Give ultimatums or make threats or demands.
    • Make your loved one feel weak because they arent coping as well as others.
    • Tell your loved one they were lucky it wasnt worse.
    • Take over with your own personal experiences or feelings.

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    Treating Ptsd In Children

    Treatment for PTSD in children usually involves therapy and can sometimes include medication to help with intense feelings or to combat nightmares. Some of these are the same as PTSD treatments in adults.

    Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help your child manage their feelings around the traumatic event. This might involve talking, drawing, or writing about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. A therapist can also help children learn coping skills to manage their symptoms.

    It can help to have the parents or caregivers involved in treatment to support their childs healing process.

    Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is one evidence-based psychotherapy that helps children recover from trauma and youth PTSD.

    Your doctor or therapist might suggest medication to help with fear and anxiety. Medicine can also help with ongoing nightmares.

    Teaching kids relaxation skills, such as breathing exercises, can also help them manage the physiological symptoms of anxiety.

    Its important to find professionals who have specific experience working with children, as kids often have different needs than adults.

    Treatment For Child Traumatic Stress

    Parenting child with PTSD | PTSD recovery in kids with Preventive Teaching

    Even with the support of family members and others, some children do not recover on their own. When needed, a mental health professional trained in evidence-based trauma treatment can help children and families cope with the impact of traumatic events and move toward recovery.

    Effective treatments like trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapies are available. There are a number of evidence-based and promising practices to address child traumatic stress.

    Each childs treatment depends on the nature, timing, and amount of exposure to a trauma.

    Families and caregivers should ask their pediatrician, family physician, school counselor, or clergy member for a referral to a mental health professional and discuss available treatment options.

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    What Events Cause Ptsd In Children

    Any life threatening event or event that threatens physical harm can cause PTSD. These events may include:

    • sexual abuse or violence
    • natural or man made disasters, such as fires, hurricanes, or floods
    • violent crimes such as kidnapping or school shootings
    • motor vehicle accidents such as automobile and plane crashes

    PTSD can also occur after witnessing violence. These events may include exposure to:

    • community violence
    • domestic violence

    Finally, in some cases learning about these events happening to someone close to you can cause PTSD.

    In This Article

    How many children and adolescents experience traumatic events?

    The best information on very young children comes from annual statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services on child abuse. These rates underestimate traumatic exposure given that they address abuse only and not other types of traumatic events. Also, they underestimate abuse because not all abuse is reported.

    In 2011, child protective services in the United States received 3.4 million referrals, representing 6.2 million children. Of those cases referred, about 19% were substantiated and occurred in the following frequencies .

    • 8% experienced sexual assault

    Calming Activities And Tools For Relaxations

    The videos and tools below can really useful to helping children and young adults find strategies to help them cope when things feel overwhelming. Keep in mind, for children with PTSD, they may need you to stay with them to do these exercises, especially if they close their eyes and they may need a big cuddle afterwards just to return to the world after relaxing and being in a new space.

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    What’s The Best Treatment For Ptsd In Children

    Dr. Joan Kaufman explains the four stages of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy

    In the video above, Joan Kaufman, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University, discusses the different stages of trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy, or TF-CBT, the best evidence-based intervention for children who have impairing reactions to traumatic events. One key insight, she says, is that caregivers and children must work together, and that clear communication and understanding can make all the difference.

    Common Preschooler Reactions To Trauma

    Trauma Coping Skills

    Childrens responses to trauma can vary, but common reactions include:

    • new or increased clingy behaviour, such as following the parent around the house
    • new problems with basic skills like sleeping, eating, going to the toilet or paying attention it may seem like theyve slipped back and got younger
    • mood changes the child might not seem to enjoy daily routines or activities they used to like or may seem more shut down, listless and withdrawn
    • changed behaviour some children might be more aggressive to parents or playmates
    • increased fear for example, the child may
    • be more jumpy or startle easily
    • develop new fears
    • have more nightmares
    • talk about the frightening event more or have it in their play or drawings
    • not seem to be reassured when talking about the scary event and ask about it again and again
    • be scared that the trauma will happen again, or of other things they did not fear before, like dogs, strangers, being apart from caregivers
  • more physical complaints for which no cause can be found, such as tummy ache or headache, being tired and other problems
  • blaming themselves small children are likely to misunderstand the events of the trauma and somehow think it was their fault.
  • what parents and carers can do to help preschoolers after a traumatic event.
  • There are a number of things you can do to help your preschool age child during times of trauma.

    Parents or care-givers should seek help if:

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    The Effects Of Trauma On Children And Teens

    Being involved in a serious accident, violent crime, terrorist attack, global pandemic, or natural disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane, can be overwhelmingly stressful for children. A disaster, crisis, or other troubling event can cause traumatic stress, undermine your childs sense of security, and leave them feeling helpless and vulnerableespecially if the event stemmed from an act of violence, such as a mass shooting or terrorist attack. Even kids or teens not directly affected by a disaster can become traumatized when repeatedly exposed to horrific images of the event on the news or social media.

    Whether your child lived through the disturbing event itself, witnessed it, or experienced traumatic stress in the aftermath, theyre likely to be affected by an array of intense, confusing, and frightening emotions. While unpleasant symptoms may fade over time, theres plenty you can do as a parent or guardian to support and reassure a traumatized child. Using these coping tips, you can help your child manage symptoms of traumatic stress, rebuild their sense of safety, and move on from the traumatic event.

    Affordable Online Therapy

    How Many Children Develop Ptsd

    The National Comorbidity Survey Replication- Adolescent Supplement is a nationally representative sample of over 10,000 adolescents aged 13-18. Results indicate that 5% of adolescents have met criteria for PTSD in their lifetime. Prevalence is higher for girls than boys and increase with age . Current rates are 3.9% overall . There are no definitive studies on prevalence rates of PTSD in younger children in the general population.

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    Tips For Managing Traumatized Kids In The Classroom

    When it comes to managing traumatized kids in the classroom, educators must be willing to take a step back and consider for a moment what might be at the root of bad behavior rather than just immediately moving into discipline mode. Here are some ways in which teachers can manage students who have experienced trauma or have PTSD.

    How Do You Respond To A Child With Trauma

    Violence can lead to PTSD in children

    How you respond after a child has faced a traumatic event can significantly affect how they cope with it. Allowing them space to deal with their emotions healthily may help them manage daily tasks better.

    Some children may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder. It may be tempting to avoid talking about trauma or protect your children from the world. But has indicated that avoidance strategies often can create anxiety, which is the opposite of the intended effect.

    Responding in a supportive rather than dismissive way can significantly impact your kids overall mental health.

    Traumatic events can affect children and adolescents of all ages. When a child is exposed to a traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, you may notice these symptoms of PTSD:

    • low self-esteem

    Being patient with your child while still setting household expectations may be an excellent way to help your child deal with the symptoms associated with trauma.

    First and foremost, you want to provide children with a sense of safety to help them heal. How you help your child recover from a traumatic event is dependent on your childs age and developmental level.

    Read Also: Can Narcissistic Abuse Cause Ptsd

    Understanding Ptsd And Trauma

    For educators, trauma and PTSD can be particularly challenging to address because kids often do not express the distress they are feeling in a way that is easy to recognize. Instead, they mask their pain and their fear with behaviors that are often aggressive or challenging. In fact, they are masters of making sure no one can see their pain.

    But when teachers and administrators are able to identify the symptoms of trauma and PTSD, they are better able to understand a traumatized student’s behaviors because they know what is causing them to behave in disruptive ways. This understanding also can help avoid misdiagnosing kids with other conditions that have symptoms, such as ADHD.

    Kids with PTSD and trauma typically struggle in a number of areas. For instance they:

    • Have trouble forming relationships with teachers
    • Have poor self-regulation
    • Engage in negative thinking
    • Are hypervigilant

    Here is a closer look at each of the most common symptoms kids with PTSD and trauma exhibit, and how teachers can help address these issues in the classroom setting.

    How Can You Help A Child With Ptsd

    PTSD is a mental health disorder. Like other psychiatric disorders, appropriate treatment of PTSD can lead to reduction in symptoms, helping a child to recover from the condition more quickly.

    PTSD often occurs within three months of the traumatic event, but in some cases its presentation can be delayed for years. It is important to recognize the condition in a child who presents with the symptoms of PTSD, even if they have not recently experienced a traumatic event.

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