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.
What Is Complex Ptsd
In some cases, traumatic experiences can last for months, or even years. PTSD from this type of long-term trauma is sometimes called complex PTSD. Complex PTSD is recognized by the World Health Organization as a separate mental health condition.
In addition to the PTSD symptoms listed above, people with complex PTSD can also:
Have a hard time managing strong emotions
Have suicidal thoughts
Feel like are they are different from other people
Have strong feelings of helplessness, guilt, and failure
Struggle to maintain healthy relationships with others
What Is Complex Post
The main symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD are the same. But if you have complex PTSD you will have extra symptoms such as:
- constant issues with keeping a relationship,
- finding it difficult to feel connected to other people,
- constant belief that you are worthless with deep feelings of shame and guilt. This will be related to the trauma, and
- constant and severe emotional dysregulation. This means it is difficult to control your emotions
You are more likely to have complex PTSD if your trauma is linked to an event or series of events. The trauma will be very threatening or frightening. Most commonly from a trauma which you were not able to escape from such as:
- a long period of domestic abuse, or
- a long period of sexual or physical abuse
What is the treatment for complex PTSD?
You may respond to trauma focussed therapies if you have complex PTSD. Please see the section below on therapies and additional needs for PTSD.
There is some overlap of symptoms for complex PTSD and borderline personality disorder . If you have complex PTSD you may benefit from certain treatments that help people with BPD.
You can find more information about ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ by clicking here.
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What Does Ptsd Feel Like
PTSD feels different for everyone. This is partly because trauma is an individual experience. For example, a war veteran with PTSD may have different symptoms than someone who was physically assaulted.
PTSD also has lots of different symptoms 20 in total. You only need to have six of these symptoms to be diagnosed with PTSD. This means two people could be diagnosed with PTSD, but each have a completely different combination of symptoms.
Avoidance And Emotional Numbing
Trying to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event is another key symptom of PTSD.
This usually means avoiding certain people or places that remind you of the trauma, or avoiding talking to anyone about your experience.
Many people with PTSD try to push memories of the event out of their mind, often distracting themselves with work or hobbies.
Some people attempt to deal with their feelings by trying not to feel anything at all. This is known as emotional numbing.
This can lead to the person becoming isolated and withdrawn, and they may also give up pursuing activities they used to enjoy.
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What Can I Do If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
- ask for a second opinion,
- ask a relative, friend or advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.
Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.
A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.
You dont have a legal right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.
An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.
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What Can I Do To Cope
The best way to deal with symptoms following TBI is to go back slowly to your normal routine, a little at a time. How much time you spend at work, with family, with others, or exercising depends on what feels comfortable. Pace yourself, and be sure to get all the rest you need. Avoiding alcohol and not taking any unnecessary medications is a good idea, to help allow the brain to heal.
If your symptoms get worse, or if you notice new PCS symptoms, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard. Ignoring your symptoms and trying to “tough it out” often make the symptoms worse. Symptoms are your body’s way of giving you information. A broken bone or a torn muscle hurts so that you won’t use it and it has time to heal. PCS symptoms are your brain’s way of telling you that you need to rest it.
Research suggests that one week of relaxing at home and then a week of slowly doing more after leaving the hospital is best for most patients. Most patients who took this advice were back to normal at work or school in 3 to 4 weeks. Most patients who weren’t told what to do took 5 to 12 weeks to get back to their normal routine. They also had more PCS symptoms than patients who returned slowly to their routines.
Accept and deal with the stress of the injury
Return to school or work slowly
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The Difference Between Ptsd And Stress
Not everyone who has experienced a traumatic event will develop PTSD. After a traumatic event, it is normal to have strong feelings of anxiety, sadness, or stress. Some people may even experience nightmares, memories about the event, or problems sleeping at night, which are common characteristics of PTSD.
However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have PTSD. Think of it this way: Headaches can be a symptom of a bigger problem, such as meningitis.
However, having a headache does not necessarily mean that you have meningitis. The same is true for PTSD. Many of the symptoms are part of the body’s normal response to stress, but having them does not mean that you have PTSD.
There are specific requirements that must be met for a diagnosis of PTSD. These requirements are outlined in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
Treatment Choices For People Suffering From Ptsd Symptoms
Several intervention options are available and accessible for people who are suffering from PTSD symptoms.
Psychotherapy is one of these treatment options and one of the most prescribed interventions for these affected people.
Physical interventions options are also prescribed to people suffering from PTSD symptoms.
Your chosen mental health professional will be the one to create the treatment plan depending on the assessment of your distressing symptoms.
Here are the treatment choices for PTSD discussed thoroughly in the following sections.
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Criteria Used To Diagnose Ptsd
Clinical psychologists, psychologists, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers can diagnose PTSD. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD and/or relate to any of the criteria below, we highly encourage you to seek out a mental health professional.
Criterion A: Exposure
Being exposed to death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, actual or threatened sexual violence through direct exposure, witnessing the trauma, learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma, or indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties
Criterion B: Intrusive Symptoms
The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in the following way: unwanted upsetting memories, nightmares, flashbacks, emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders, physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders
Criterion C: Avoidance
Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma, in the following way: trauma-related thoughts or feelings, trauma-related external reminders
Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood
Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way: Inability to recall key features of the trauma, overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world, exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma. negative affect, decreased interest in activities, feeling isolated, difficulty experiencing positive affect
Similarities Between Asd And Ptsd
Both acute stress disorder and PTSD result from experiencing or being exposed to trauma. As a result of the trauma, the individual struggles with a sense of emotional dysregulation, heightened arousal and a tendency to avoid triggering situations, people or events. However, while acute stress disorder can only last up to one month, PTSD can persist for years.
The causes of PTSD mirror those of acute stress disorder. Specific events that may trigger PTSD include:
- Physical violence or attacks
- Severe injuries of self or others
- Natural disasters
While there is not an apparent, straightforward reason regarding why some people develop these disorders while others dont, factors like substance abuse, other co-occurring mental illness and history of trauma may play a role.
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How Serious Is My Injury
A TBI is basically the same thing as a concussion. A TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. These terms tell you the nature of the injury itself. They do not tell you what symptoms you may have or how severe the symptoms will be.
A TBI can occur even when there is no direct contact to the head. For example, when a person suffers whiplash, the brain may be shaken within the skull. This damage can cause bleeding between the brain and skull. Bruises can form where the brain hits the skull. Like bruises on other parts of the body, for mild injuries these will heal with time.
About 80% of all TBI’s in civilians are mild . Most people who have a mTBI will be back to normal by three months without any special treatment. Even patients with moderate or severe TBI can make remarkable recoveries.
The length of time that a person is unconscious is one way to measure how severe the injury was. If you weren’t knocked out at all or if you were out for less than 30 minutes, your TBI was most likely minor or mild. If you were knocked out for more than 30 minutes but less than six hours, your TBI was most likely moderate.
Ptsd May Contribute To Depression
A second possibility is that the symptoms of PTSD can be so distressing and debilitating that they actually cause depression to develop.
Some people with PTSD may feel detached or disconnected from friends and family. They may also find little pleasure in activities they once enjoyed.
Finally, they may even have difficulty experiencing positive emotions like joy and happiness. It’s easy to see how experiencing these symptoms of PTSD may make someone feel very sad, lonely, and depressed.
What Risks Are Associated With Ptsd
Alcohol and drug use
You might use drugs or alcohol to help you to manage your symptoms.
Drugs or alcohol can make you more unwell and more likely to try and harm yourself or take your own life.
Mental health conditions
Symptoms of PTSD can be made worse by other disorders such as:
- substance abuse, and
- memory problems
Most people with PTSD will have at least 1 other mental health condition. The most common disorders are:
- depressive disorders,
- substance use disorders, and
- anxiety disorders.
Other mental health conditions have the some of the same symptoms as PTSD. This may be why PTSD is hard to diagnose.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
In severe cases PTSD can last long enough and have a large impact on day to day life. This can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
Physical health issues
PTSD has been linked to physical symptoms such as dizziness, tinnitus and blurry vision.
It has also been linked to physical illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
It’s normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but in most people these improve naturally over a few weeks.
You should visit your GP if you or your child are still having problems about 4 weeks after the traumatic experience, or the symptoms are particularly troublesome.
Your GP will want to discuss your symptoms with you in as much detail as possible.
They’ll ask whether you have experienced a traumatic event in the recent or distant past and whether you have re-experienced the event through flashbacks or nightmares.
Your GP can refer you to mental health specialists if they feel you’d benefit from treatment.
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Flashbacks And Panic: Signs Of Re
Everyday occurrences can trigger memories of the traumatic event. When the brain becomes reminded of the trauma, survivors of PTSD may re-experience the event itself, as if it were occurring in the present. Flashbacks cause the survivor to have a waking, conscious and often sensory experience of the traumatic episode, usually accompanied by visual or auditory immersions.
Intrusive thoughts can also represent the re-experiencing of trauma, as the survivors natural efforts to switch mental focus or block the experience fail. Another sign of re-experiencing trauma in PTSD is extreme psychological stress when triggers occur.
He or she may even experience physical sensations of re-experiencing, such as muscles freezing, profuse sweating, racing pulse or heartbeat, yelling, or running away when psychological or physical cues trigger the traumatic event.
Finally, persistent nightmares represent re-experiencing the trauma and in some cases, nightmares that cause the survivor to relive the event can be as traumatic as flashbacks.
Who Develops Ptsd
Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. This includes combat veterans as well as people who have experienced or witnessed a physical or sexual assault, abuse, an accident, a disaster, a terror attack, or other serious events. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened, even when they are no longer in danger.
Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. In some cases, learning that a relative or close friend experienced trauma can cause PTSD.
According to the National Center for PTSD, a program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about seven or eight of every 100 people will experience PTSD in their lifetime. Women are more likely than men to develop PTSD. Certain aspects of the traumatic event and some biological factors may make some people more likely to develop PTSD.
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Where To Get Help
- Your doctor
- Mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, with experience in treatment of PTSD
- Community health centre
- Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health Tel. 9035 5599
- Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 2013, Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. More information here.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Ptsd
Most kids and teens with PTSD will:
- have upsetting thoughts of the trauma
- have bad dream or sleep problems
- have bad memories, called flashbacks, that make it seem like the trauma is still happening
- avoid things that remind them of the trauma
- be more easily startled, scared, or anxious
- feel more moody, sad, angry, or not enjoy things as before
- not remember some parts of what happened
Younger children may show more fearful and regressive behaviors They may re-enact the trauma through play.
When symptoms like these happen in the first days and weeks after the trauma, it may be called an acute stress reaction. Doctors diagnose PTSD when symptoms last longer than a month.
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Ptsd And Trauma Treatment In Tennessee
At Cumberland Heights, weve been changing lives since 1966. We understand the connection between trauma, mental illness and addiction. It is our mission to help people to fully recover for life thats why weve created a curriculum rooted in proven, evidence-based modalities. Contact us for more information about our approach to trauma treatment.
Do I Have The Symptoms That Follow A Tbi Or Ptsd
You may notice that many of the symptoms that follow a TBI overlap with the common reactions after trauma . Because TBI is caused by trauma and there is symptom overlap, it can be hard to tell what the underlying problem is. In addition, many people who get a TBI also develop PTSD.
It is important to be assessed because:
- People with TBI should not use some medications.
- No matter how mild or severe the injury itself was, the effects could be serious.
Although TBI screens are used, a screen is not used to diagnose TBI. Even if your TBI screen is positive, that does not mean that you have a TBI. It means that you should be assessed further.
Diagnosing a TBI is hard because there may not be any physical signs of injury. Details of the trauma may be hard to pin down. Sometimes right after the injury the effects are so brief that they are not noticed. You may go to the doctor some time later when details of the injury are not as clear. TBI can occur in confused times of crisis, such as combat. In the heat of events the injury may be ignored. Many of the symptoms that can result from a TBI are the same as the symptoms of PTSD. For these reasons, the best way to diagnose a TBI is an interview by a skilled clinician.
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