In light of the recent horrific traumatic events of the Charleston church shooting, learning how to work through trauma and recognize the symptoms and treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder is crucial. Untreated PTSD in teens can last throughout a person’s lifetime, damaging relationships and overall well-being of people suffering from a traumatic experience.
What causes post-traumatic stress disorder?
PTSD is caused by experiencing or knowing someone who has experienced a traumatic event. This could be something like a tragic, sudden death or a terrible accident. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that damages a person’s “fight or flight” response when experiencing fear. People with PTSD oftentimes feel fearful or anxious even when they are not in danger.
Symptoms of PTSD
- Flashbacks to the traumatic event
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Being easily startled
- Loss of interest in things once enjoyable to the person
- Spontaneous or cued recurrent, involuntary and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events
- Inability to trust others
- Difficulty sleeping
The most common form of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder is psychotherapy. There are various forms of psychotherapy that can help your teen get through their trauma:
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): This form of therapy is created specifically for adolescents. In TF-CBT, individuals talk through their traumatic event with a TF-CBT trained therapist. It is one of the most effective treatments for PTSD.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This form of therapy is used to help reprocess the traumatic event.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT): CPT primarily focuses on challenging and modifying distorted beliefs and thoughts about the trauma.
A combination of these psychotherapy techniques are used to help those struggling with PTSD symptoms. Like any other anxiety or mood disorder, finding the therapist that works best for your teen is crucially important to your teen’s success.
If you need additional help with trauma and PTSD, these resources can help: