Mental Health Library ::

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

A child or adolescent who experiences a catastrophic event may develop ongoing difficulties known as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

A child or adolescent who experiences a catastrophic event may develop ongoing difficulties known as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The event usually involves a situation where someone's life has been threatened or severe injury has occurred.
A child's risk of developing PTSD is related to the seriousness of the trauma, whether the trauma is repeated, the child's proximity to the trauma, and relationship to the victim. Children who experience repeated trauma may develop a kind of emotional numbing to deaden or block the pain and trauma. This is referred to as dissociation.
Sexually traumatic events may include developmentally inappropriate sexual experience without threatened or actual violence or injury.

Symptoms The symptoms of PTSD may last from several months to years.

A child with PTSD may re-experience the traumatic event by:
  • Having distressing dreams/nightmares 
  • Developing repeated physical or emotional symptoms when the child is reminded of the event

Children with PTSD may also show the following symptoms:

  • Worry about dying at an early age 
  • Loss of interest in activities 
  • Headaches and stomachaches 
  • Show more sudden and extreme emotional reactions 
  • Problems falling or staying asleep 
  • Problems concentrating 
  • Disorganized or agitated behavior 
  • Repeated enactment of the trauma through play

Treatments

Medications: The use of anti-depressants and anxiety-reducing medications can ease the symptoms of depression, sleep problems, nightmares, flashbacks, and help to control anger

Psychotherapy: allows the child to speak, draw, play, or write about the event

Supportive psychotherapy and psycho-education: for families and caregivers

Cognitive-behavioral-therapy

Support Group

This information was provided by:
NAMI IOWA

National Alliance on Mental Illness-Iowa
5911 Meredith Drive, Ste. E
Des Moines, Iowa 50322-1903
Phone: (515) 254-0417
            (800) 417-0417
http://www.namiiowa.com/
info@namiiowa.com