Post traumatic stress disorder develops after a person has experienced trauma or extremely stressful situations. When a person experiences extreme stress, their body goes into “fight-or-flight” mode by releasing chemicals into the brain that heighten awareness and anxiety. Normally, the brain would return to regular function after the event, but a person with PTSD will continue to feel anxious, jittery and nervous .
According to the National Institute for Mental Illness, an older teen is more likely to show symptoms similar to that of an adult, while younger children and teens are more likely show different—yet still extreme—reactions. This can include bed wetting and disruptive or disrespectful behaviors.
Events that can cause PTSD
- Death in family
- Direct violence
- (Aggravated) Assault
- Car accident
- Diagnosis of extreme/life-threatening illness
Signs and Symptoms
- Avoiding reminders of event
- On edge
- Emotionally numb
Treatment and Management
PTSD can be treated through therapy, similar to how an anxiety disorder is treated. PTSD therapy, however, focuses on the traumatic event, gradually preparing the teen to talk about what happened and finding ways to heal. Practicing relaxation and meditation methods at home can also help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as clear the mind of any negative thoughts.
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