What Are The Signs Of PTSD In Children & Teens?

While many people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with adult trauma, the condition is actually relatively common in children as well. Children are actually susceptible to PTSD too, and often because they lack control over many of their own surroundings.

If you believe that your child or a child you know may be experiencing PTSD, help is available. Many children benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy, whereas others attend regular grief counseling to cope. Spotting the signs is often the first step.

What Causes PTSD?

PTSD is often related to genetics, and the condition is much more common in children who have a first-degree relation with the condition too. Additionally, the risk increases among children who already struggle with anxiety and depression. Physical and environmental factors are also involved in PTSD.

Certain events also lead to PTSD in many children. These include instances of neglect, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. Children who have endured natural disasters, attacks with weapons, car accidents, and acts of violence at school are also at high risk. Children can also get PTSD after watching another person go through a traumatic event.

What Are Signs of PTSD in Children?

Children with PTSD exhibit symptoms differently than adults in many cases, and the severity of the condition may depend on many factors.

Behavioral symptoms of PTSD may include choosing to re-enact certain parts of trauma, losing interest in hobbies, recklessness, irritability, and angry outbursts.

Physical symptoms of PTSD include different levels of metabolism, disturbances in sleep, and even stomachaches. Children may also demonstrate unwillingness to engage in physical contact.

Many children exhbit cognitive symptoms of PTSD. For instance, children may have flashbacks and believe that the events are still playing out. Still, flashbacks are not as common in children as they are in adults. They may also express difficulty concentrating or may appear to be extra vigilant in certain circumstances because they fear the events will happen again.

Emotional symptoms are common as well. Children may express sadness, guilt, and low self-esteem. They may also begin not to trust others, or they want to avoid discussing the traumatic events. Children may also have nightmares and worries about death.

The impact of trauma depends on many factors, including on how parents and other family members cope with trauma. You can help your child by seeking treatment for PTSD and other mental health issues for him or her early on. Contact a counseling center that offers PTSD treatment for teens for more information.