Treatment For Children And Teenagers With Ptsd
For children and teenagers who are struggling to recover after a traumatic event, the recommended treatment is trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapy . This treatment involves:
- learning about the type of traumatic event experienced and common reactions to trauma
- teaching how to relax and manage anxiety
- helping to create a coherent story of the traumatic event, and correct any unhelpful beliefs about the event such as self-blame
- gradual exposure to trauma-related objects or situations that are feared or avoided
- helping to get back into everyday activities.
How Can Parents Help
Above all, your child needs your support and understanding. Sometimes other family members like parents and siblings will need support too. While family and friends can play a key role in helping someone recover, help usually is needed from a trained therapist.
Here are some other things parents can do to support kids with PTSD:
What Do Psychiatrists Usually Prescribe For Anxiety
If anxiety prevents you from going to work or otherwise participating in your usual activities, your doctor may prescribe an antianxiety medication, such as alprazolam, from a class called benzodiazepines. These medications calm the nervous system, providing short term relief of anxiety and panic disorder symptoms.
Also Check: Does Celine Dion Have An Eating Disorder
Changes Between The Dsm
- Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world
- erroneous self-blame or blaming others for the trauma
- negative mood states
- reckless and maladaptive behavior, e.g. example reckless driving
- the irritability symptoms has criterion been changed to aggressive behavior, which includes verbal aggression but does not refer to violence :272-274
- illusions and hallucinations have been removed from the examples of trauma symptoms listed in one criteria
- the DSM-IV delayed onset specifier has been reworded to delayed expression this is used when symptoms were delayed for at least 6 months after the trauma. Some PTSD symptoms may begin immediately after the trauma. :273-274
A sense of a foreshortened future,PTSD dissociative sub-typespecifier
When Should I Call My Childs Healthcare Provider
Feels extreme depression, fear, anxiety, or anger toward him or herself or others
Feels out of control
Hears voices that others dont hear
Sees things that others dont see
Cant sleep or eat for 3 days in a row
Shows behavior that concerns friends, family, or teachers, and others express concern about this behavior and ask you to get help
PTSD increases risk for other mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking.
Also Check: Phobic Definition
Ptsd And Substance Abuse Are Closely Related
People who have developed PTSD are five times more likely than people without PTSD to develop a substance use disorder. A 2008 study reported that 50 percent of people living in inpatient substance abuse treatment facilities will meet the criteria for co-occurring PTSD. Another study reported that people with PTSD are reportedly 14 times more likely to struggle with addiction.
Many people who develop problems with alcohol or drugs do so because they are self-medicating PTSD symptoms however, abusing substances will make symptoms of any mental illness, including PTSD, much worse. Additionally, abusing drugs or alcohol can increase the risk of suffering a traumatic event, like abuse or an accident, which increases the risk of developing PTSD or experiencing increased symptoms.
Veterans are one of the most studied demographics who struggle with PTSD and co-occurring drug or alcohol abuse. One study examining veterans three to four months after returning from deployment found that 27 percent abused alcohol and a significant association between how life-threatening combat was and the rate of alcohol misuse. Those who experienced more severe combat situations had 93 percent higher odds of screening positive for alcohol abuse. Among Vietnam-era veterans, 41.4 percent were found to have both a substance use disorder and, later, PTSD.
People who struggle with co-occurring PTSD and substance abuse are more likely to experience other issues, including:
The Four Types Of Symptoms Of Ptsd
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health issue that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event, according to the National Institute of Mental Health . It is widely believed that PTSD is reserved for veterans who survived traumatic experiences during wartime, but PTSD can happen to anyone. Even those who did not directly experience a trauma, but had witnessed a life-threatening event may experience symptoms of this disorder.
Although each person may experience symptoms differently, there are four main types to be aware of:
Re-experiencing symptoms are those that make you feel as though you are reliving the event. Flashbacks, nightmares and bad memories are examples of re-experiencing symptoms. These symptoms, particularly flashbacks, can also have physical effects such as rapid heartbeat or sweating. According to the NIMH, Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms.
Avoiding certain places, people and situations that trigger bad memories is common when experiencing these symptoms. One may also avoid thinking about or discussing the event and may change their daily routine for this reason. For example, someone who was mugged while walking home from work may choose to avoid their usual route, or change their transportation method to driving.
Read Also: How Long Before Pristiq Works
Experiences Of Facing Stigma
There are lots of misconceptions about PTSD. For example, people may wrongly assume it means you are ‘dwelling’ on past events. They might even suggest that you should ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’. But having PTSD isn’t a choice or a sign of weakness, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
See our page on stigma and misconceptions for lots of ideas on how to deal with stigma.
Causes & Risk Factors
PTSD is a response to traumatic life events, such as car crashes, fires, bombings, rape, torture or seeing a family member, friend or other person harmed or killed. Being involved in a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, flood or earthquake, can also lead to PTSD.
Some people experience traumatic events and do not develop PTSD. Many factors play a part in whether a person will develop the disorder. Risk factors make a person more likely to get PTSD, whereas protective factors reduce the likelihood of developing the disorder.
Risk factors for PTSD include:
- experiencing dangerous events and trauma in the past
- having a history of mental health or substance use problems
- feeling helplessness or extreme fear
- having a small support system after the traumatic event
- feeling guilt, shame or responsibility for the event or its outcome
- experiencing additional stress after the event .
Protective factors that may reduce the risk of developing PTSD include:
- having support from other people, such as friends and family
- participating in a support group after a traumatic event
- feeling confident about ones own actions regarding the event
- having a coping strategy or a way of getting through the traumatic event
- being able to act and respond effectively despite feeling fear.
Recommended Reading: Simple Phobia Definition
When To See A Doctor
Many people experience symptoms after a traumatic event, such as crying, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating, but this is not necessarily PTSD.
Prompt treatment with a qualified professional can help prevent the symptoms from getting worse.
This should be considered if:
- symptoms persist for more than a month
- symptoms are severe enough to prevent the person returning to normal life
- the person considers harming themselves
Treatment usually involves psychotherapy and counseling, medication, or a combination.
Options for psychotherapy will be specially tailored for managing trauma.
Cognitive processing therapy : Also known as cognitive restructuring, the individual learns how to think about things in a new way. Mental imagery of the traumatic event may help them work through the trauma, to gain control of the fear and distress.
Exposure therapy: Talking repeatedly about the event or confronting the cause of the fear in a safe and controlled environment may help the person feel they have more control over their thoughts and feelings. The effectiveness of this treatment has been questioned, however, and it must be carried out with care, or there may be a risk of worsening of the symptoms.
How Common Is Ptsd
According to the National Center for PTSD, about half of all women and 60 percent of all men will experience trauma at some point in their lives. Yet, not everyone who lives through a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
According to a 2017 study, theres at least a 10 percent prevalence of PTSD in women during their lifespan. For men, theres at least a 5 percent prevalence of PTSD during their lifetime. Simply stated, women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.
Theres limited available research on the prevalence of PTSD in children and adolescents.
An early review showed that theres a 5 percent lifetime prevalence for adolescents ages 13 to 18 years of age.
You May Like: Definition Phobia
Diagnostic And Statistical Manual
PTSD was classified as an anxiety disorder in the DSM-IV, but has since been reclassified as a “trauma- and stressor-related disorder” in the DSM-5. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD include four symptom clusters: re-experiencing, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition/mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity.
Ptsd In Children And Teenagers
Older children and teenagers experience similar problems to adults when they develop PTSD. Younger children can express distress in a different way. For example, they may re-live the traumatic event through repetitive play rather than having unwanted memories of the event during the day. Many children have frightening dreams without recognisable content rather than nightmares that replay the traumatic event. Children may also lose interest in play, become socially withdrawn, or have extreme temper tantrums.
About one third of children who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Other problems that can develop alongside PTSD include anxiety or depression, defiant behaviour, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and in teenagers and young adults, suicidal thoughts and alcohol or drug use.
Also Check: Is Tequila A Stimulant Or Depressant
Arousal And Reactivity Symptoms Include:
- Being easily startled
- Feeling tense or on edge
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
International Classification Of Diseases
The International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10 classifies PTSD under “Reaction to severe stress, and adjustment disorders.” The ICD-10 criteria for PTSD include re-experiencing, avoidance, and either increased reactivity or inability to recall certain details related to the event.
The ICD-11 diagnostic description for PTSD contains three components or symptom groups re-experiencing, avoidance, and heightened sense of threat. ICD-11 no longer includes verbal thoughts about the traumatic event as a symptom. There is a predicted lower rate of diagnosed PTSD using ICD-11 compared to ICD10 or DSM-5. ICD-11 also proposes identifying a distinct group with complex post-traumatic stress disorder , who have more often experienced several or sustained traumas and have greater functional impairment than those with PTSD.
Also Check: Paranoid Schizophrenia Icd 9
What Are The Symptoms Of Post
There are four types of PTSD symptoms, but they may not be the same for everyone. Each person experiences symptoms in their own way. The types are
- Re-experiencing symptoms, where something reminds you of the trauma and you feel that fear again. Examples include
- Flashbacks, which cause you to feel like you are going through the event again
- Frightening thoughts
The symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event. But sometimes they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years.
Do Children React Differently Than Adults
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but some of their symptoms may not be the same as adults. Symptoms sometimes seen in very young children , these symptoms can include:
- Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
- Forgetting how to or being unable to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime
- Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult
Older children and teens are more likely to show symptoms similar to those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.
Also Check: Depression On Topographic Map
When To Seek Help For Ptsd
A person who has experienced a traumatic event should seek professional help if they:
- dont feel any better after two weeks
- feel highly anxious or distressed
- have reactions to the traumatic event that are interfering with home, work and/or relationships
- are thinking of harming themselves or someone else.
Some of the signs that a problem may be developing are:
- being constantly on edge or irritable
- having difficulty performing tasks at home or at work
- being unable to respond emotionally to others
- being unusually busy to avoid issues
- using alcohol, drugs or gambling to cope
- having severe sleeping difficulties.
What Is Complex Ptsd
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as:
- difficulty controlling your emotions
- feeling very angry or distrustful towards the world
- constant feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
- feeling as if you are permanently damaged or worthless
- feeling as if you are completely different to other people
- feeling like nobody can understand what happened to you
- avoiding friendships and relationships, or finding them very difficult
- often experiencing dissociative symptoms such as depersonalisation or derealisation
- physical symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, chest pains and stomach aches
- regular suicidal feelings.
Recommended Reading: Psychosis Catatonia
Chronic And Severe Ptsd
This section refers to research from PTSD resulting from a single trauma caused by physical or sexual assault/rape, rather than multiple traumas, although severe and persistent PTSD can be caused by either.Chronic PTSDAcute PTSD
- Nowhere is safe
- I cannot rely on other people
- I canât trust my own judgments
- I am going mad
- It was my fault
Severe PTSDmild, moderate or severe,
- sense of hopelessness
- emotional detachment
- See also: Complex PTSD for PTSD from multiple in erpersonal traumas, including child abuse
- See also: Treatment for PTSD, which includes a medication overview
- See also: PCL-5 PTSD checklist test to help assess PTSD
How Is Ptsd Diagnosed
A psychiatrist will diagnose PTSD through a mental health assessment. Your GP should carry out an initial assessment to decide what care you need. Your assessment should include information about:
- your physical needs,
- your social needs, and
As part of the assessment they will decide if you need to be referred to the community mental health team . You should be referred to the CMHT if you have had symptoms for more than 4 weeks. Or your symptoms are very bad. A CMHT is part of the NHS. They are a team of mental health professionals.
Doctors use the following manuals to help to diagnose you:
- International Classification of Diseases produced by the World Health Organisation , and
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association.
The manuals are guides which explain different mental health conditions.
Also Check: What Is The Meaning Of Phobia
What Are The Four Types Of Ptsd
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.
Then, What are the 4 major clusters of PTSD?
DSM-5 pays more attention to the behavioral symptoms that accompany PTSD and proposes four distinct diagnostic clusters instead of three. They are described as re-experiencing, avoidance, negative cognitions and mood, and arousal.
What are the 3 types of PTSD? These variations are what characterize the different types of post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Complex PTSD. The symptoms of complex PTSD are not explicit in DSM-5, like they were in DSM-IV.
- Comorbid PTSD. Comorbid PTSD is when you meet all the criteria for PTSD and exhibit symptoms of another disorder.
- Dissociative PTSD.
Keeping this in consideration, What are the major symptoms of PTSD?
Common symptoms of PTSD
- vivid flashbacks
- intrusive thoughts or images.
- intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of the trauma.
- physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling.
When To Get Medical Advice
It’s normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but most people improve naturally over a few weeks.
You should see a GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or if the symptoms are particularly troublesome.
If necessary, your GP can refer you to mental health specialists for further assessment and treatment.
Also Check: Define Aerophobia