What Is Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that follows a specific traumatic event in a person’s life. In the past, in relation to soldiers, it was referred to as “shell shock.” Some of the common traumatic events that can lead to the disorder include: combat, witnessing a death, experiencing a life-threatening situation, sexual assault, experiencing a natural disaster, or physical assault. It can also lead to or be experienced along with other mood or anxiety disorders, such as Depression.
It’s important to note that although following any traumatic experience, a person is of course going to experience anxiety and stress, PTSD is a condition where such symptoms are severe and persist much longer than usual, causing debilitating, disruptive effects in a person’s life.
What It Looks Like
The symptoms of PTSD are commonly broken up into three categories:
Just like it sounds, a person suffers from continuing to go through the feelings and trauma of the triggering incident, as if it’s still happening. This can occur through:
- Physical symptoms that mimic reaction to the initial trauma
- Memories that cause irregular, extreme reactions
Because of the intensity and persistence of the lingering symptoms, a person can try to escape such feelings by avoiding parts of life that may trigger a reaction, including:
- Feelings of numbness and apathy, like nothing matters or holds significance in life
- Lack of memory about the initial trauma
- Lacking range of emotions and/or connection
In contrast to a person becoming numb to deal with the severe symptoms, a person might also become hypersensitive to things and people, characterized by:
- Inability to concentrate
- Insomnia/unsound sleep
- Exaggerated responses
- Irritability/ difficulty getting along with others
- Constant anxiety that something bad is about to happen
- Physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder, such as: headaches, nausea, rapid heart rate, stomach aches, and muscle tension
Subtypes of PTSD
Acute Stress Disorder
Sometimes considered a pre-cursor to PTSD, this is characterized by symptoms lasting a month or less
Acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Characterized by a person showing symptoms for less than three months
Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Characterized by a person experiencing symptoms for longer than three months
Delayed-Onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Characterized by a person not showing symptoms until much later after the traumatic event and experiencing symptoms for longer than six months
Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment
There are many different approaches to talk therapy that can be very useful in helping a person with PTSD. Some of these include a gradual, controlled approach to addressing the traumatic event, which helps a person develop healthy coping skills with which to respond to the incident and related reminders, rather than suffering uncontrolled, severe reactions because of it. A therapist can help a person see the reactions they’re having to reminders of the incident, and gradually re-pattern their reactions to be healthier, over time.
Group therapy can be especially successful for a person with PTSD, in providing them with a community of people that understand, first-hand, what they’re experiencing. Furthermore, it allows a safe place within which a person can begin to face both the initial traumatic event they experienced, as well as the symptoms that have followed, where they can feel understood.
As common with other Anxiety Disorders, for some people, medication can be a very helpful way for a person to gain relief from the insistent and debilitating symptoms of PTSD. Because PTSD can cause such severe interference with a person living a healthy, happy life, sometimes medication can be an excellent therapeutic resource to provide a person with enough relief that they can then begin making active steps toward recovery.
When will this be over?
Unfortunately, we can’t promise just how quickly you’ll begin feeling relief from PTSD symptoms, but we can promise that there’s an excellent chance you’ll begin feeling better soon. The different forms of treatment for people with PTSD are overall, very successful, and it’s absolutely possible to return to feeling “normal.”