Children and PTSD

Just like adults, children can suffer from PTSD. The symptoms may look a little different in children, but it’s still PTSD.

First off, what is PTSD? PTSD is Posttraumatic stress disorder. This can occur after a very traumatic event. In prior history we associated PTSD with soldiers who had faced battle. Now we understand that it can affect anyone.

What can Cause PTSD in Children

  • Bad accidents, such as car wreck
  • Invasive medical procedures, especially for children younger than age 6
  • Animal bites
  • Natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes
  • Manmade tragedies, such as bombings
  • Violent personal attacks, such as a mugging, rape, torture, or kidnapping
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse
  • Witnessing the death of a loved one
  • Emotional abuse or bullying
  • Neglect

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD in Children

  • Have problems sleeping
  • Have nightmares
  • Feel depressed or grouchy
  • Not understand why they are crying
  • Change in eating habits
  • Feel nervous, jittery, or alert and watchful (on guard)
  • Lose interest in things they used to enjoy. They may seem detached or numb and are not responsive.
  • Have trouble feeling affectionate
  • Be more aggressive than before, even violent
  • Stay away from certain places or situations that bring back memories
  • Have flashbacks. These can be images, sounds, smells, or feelings. The child may believe the event is happening again.
  • Lose touch with reality
  • They may cling to the person that they feel safe with
  • Reenact an event for seconds or hours or, in rare cases, days
  • Have problems in school
  • Have trouble focusing
  • Worry about dying at a young age
  • Act younger than their age, such as thumb-sucking or bedwetting
  • Have physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches
  • Sometimes PTSD in children can look like ADHD

What to do as a Parent

If you notice these changes in your child and they persist, talk to their doctor. Get your child into counseling and keep every appointment. Listen to your child when they want to talk about what happened. You have to admit that the event happened and acknowledge it for your child. Let the child’s school counselor know what happened so they can check in on your child. Talk to their doctor about medications that could help your child. Take it seriously! Don’t just pass it off as nothing. Understand that your child may need you more. They may cling to you because you are their safety net.

https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/ptsd.html

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=post-traumatic-stress-disorder-in-children-90-P02579

Anxiety and Depression

https://beatingtrauma.com/

I would have to say that this is the most accurate description of anxiety and depression that I have seen. Often times you are so tired. It’s more of an emotional tiredness than a physical tiredness. You want to be productive, but either fear of failure or the tiredness stops you. It’s wanting to be with your family and friends, but the thought of being around people makes your anxiety go up and you start to feel overwhelmed. You want to be alone, because it feels safe and you want to feel loved. It’s wanting to close yourself off from everything and everyone and needing a hug from the ones that you love.

People who have never dealt with anxiety and depression don’t understand the constant battle.