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  • PTSD and Trauma Therapy

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    PTSD and Trauma Therapy

    All children may experience very stressful events that affect how they think and feel. Sometimes children who experience severe stress, such as from an injury, from the death or threatened death of a close family member or friend, or from violence, will be affected long-term. The child could experience this trauma directly or could witness it happening to someone else. When children develop long term symptoms (longer than one month) from such stress, which are upsetting or interfere with their relationships and activities, they may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Examples of PTSD symptoms include:

    Reliving the event over and over in thought or in play

    Nightmares and sleep problems

    Becoming very upset when something causes memories of the event

    Lack of positive emotions

    Intense ongoing fear or sadness

    Irritability and angry outbursts

    Constantly looking for possible threats, being easily startled

    Acting helpless, hopeless or withdrawn

    Denying that the event happened or feeling numb

    Avoiding places or people associated with the event

    Because children who have experienced traumatic stress may seem restless, fidgety, or have trouble paying attention and staying organized, the symptoms of traumatic stress can be confused with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Examples of events that could cause PTSD include:

    Physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment

    Being a victim or witness to violence or crime

    Serious illness or death of a close family member or friend

    Natural or manmade disasters

    Severe car accidents

    Psychotherapy in which the child can speak, draw, play, or write about the stressful event can be done with the child, the family, or a group. Behavior therapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy, helps children learn to change thoughts and feelings by first changing behavior in order to reduce the fear or worry.

    If you think your child may be suffering from PTSD, contact our office.