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October 9, 2017

Is your child at risk for PTSD?

Wildfire Resources

Is your child at risk for PTSD?

Studies show that about 15%- 43% of girls and 14%- 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3%- 15% of girls and 1% - 6% of boys develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

The odds are on your side, but it’s still important to know the symptoms in children and teens, which may differ from those in adults.

According to the National Center for PTSD, school-age children may not have flashbacks or problems remembering parts of the trauma, the way adults often do. Instead, they put the events of the trauma in the wrong order. They may think there were signs that the trauma was going to happen. As a result, they think they will see these signs again before another trauma happens. They think that if they pay attention, they can avoid future traumas. They may also keep repeating a part of trauma in play, but this does nothing to diminish their worry and distress. 

Impulsive and aggressive.

PTSD symptoms in teenagers look more like those of adults (You can find more information here: https://www.healthcaretoolbox.org). But teens are much more likely to show impulsive and aggressive behaviors. 

It's hard to predict when PTSD will set in. Some kids seem perfectly (or abnormally) fine at first, only to be beset with symptoms later on. So you’ll need to stay on alert for months. Watch for sleep problems, angry outbursts, changes in school performance and problems with friends—all symptoms.

PTSD can only be diagnosed by the symptoms, so it’s important you recognize them.

If you need to get professional help, find a mental health provider who has treated PTSD in children. Ask how the therapist treats PTSD and choose someone who makes you and your child feel at ease. You, as a parent, might also get help from talking to a therapist on your own. Contact your local mental health center for guidance.


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