In movies, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often the burden of army veterans coming home from lengthy wars. In reality, however, PTSD is far more complex. PTSD can occur in anyone, at any age. Living with PTSD from childhood, for instance, can be extremely taxing – especially considering that, unlike its adult counterpart, PTSD from childhood can have symptoms that are not commonly associated with PTSD. As a parent, there are few things more difficult than watching a child suffer. Fortunately, there are several tips that can help ease the situation.
Trauma is one of the most difficult concepts to define. Although mental illness is rarely easy to understand, certain patterns can be observed with most disorders. Depression or bipolar disorder, for example, come with a range of symptoms that appear most often. While each person’s individual situation might be different, it typically fits under the overarching umbrella of their diagnosis. With PTSD, however, matters become more nebulous.
PTSD is a response to trauma. However, most people who experience trauma do not develop PTSD. As a matter of fact, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Studies show that about 15% to 43% of girls and 14% to 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD.” Moreover, to further complicate matters, no two traumas are alike. The very definition of trauma depends on each person – and there are indicators that this is guided as much by biology as circumstance.
PTSD in children takes on a different shape than PTSD in adults. Where an adult might experience flashbacks, children typically put events in the wrong order or think that there were signs that could have led them to prevent the traumatic event in the first place. An adult typically withdraws from everybody, while a child might withdraw from all but a small, tightly-knit group. With age, a child might become disruptive, have problems in school, and be more likely to experiment with substances.
Finding Help for PTSD From Childhood
Perhaps the most important thing a parent can do to help their child struggling with PTSD is to be available to talk and discuss the situation – should the child want support. PTSD can spark unrelated fears in a child, so parents should be prepared for seemingly unrelated topics of conversation as well.
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of PTSD, it may be time to contact professional help. Solstice East helps young women ages 14-18 deal with trauma. For more information, call (855) 672-7058 today!