Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a form of anxiety that occurs after a specific trigger. Teens commonly develop PTSD after they are victims of physical or sexual assault, upon being in or witnessing a life-threatening situation, after survival of a natural disaster, or after experiencing the death of someone close. Some teens with PTSD have other mental health disorders already, while others may develop them as a result of PTSD.

Everyone reacts differently to any given situation. A lot of people feel stressed or anxious after they experience a trauma. The symptoms of PTSD are subjective, based on the individual, and must be very severe to qualify for the diagnosis.

What Does Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Look Like?

  • Teens with PTSD experience anxiety and intensely negative emotions, often reliving trauma or triggers over and over again.
  • PTSD leads to isolation as individuals suffering work to avoid triggers and their intense symptoms.
  • Some people with PTSD become hypersensitive instead of numb, leading them to react violently to surprise or unwanted attention.

Signs of Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Inability to concentrate and / or focus

Inability to concentrate and / or focus

Insomnia / hypersomnia

Insomnia / hypersomnia

Exaggerated fear, anxiety, and distress

Exaggerated fear, anxiety, and distress

Intense panic attacks or anxiety

Intense panic attacks or anxiety

Chronic fear and paranoia

Chronic fear and paranoia

Flashbacks, visions, and nightmares

Flashbacks, visions, and nightmares

Short and long-term memory issues

Short and long-term memory issues

Different Types of Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder – Teens experience intense emotional reactions and overwhelming symptoms of stress, but only for a short period of time. While this condition usually lasts less than a month, it can be a precursor to developing full post traumatic stress disorder.

Acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Teens with this diagnosis have only experienced symptoms for less than three months.

Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Once a teen surpases the three month mark, this diagnosis may apply. The symptoms last for long periods of time; they don’t just come and go.

Delayed-Onset Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Not everyone develops PTSD immediately after a triggering event. They may develop symptoms six months or longer later.

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Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment | Paradigm San Francisco

Causes of Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

While PTSD is caused by a traumatic event, teens who have a family history of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Anxiety run a higher risk of developing the disorder.

Genetics – Teens may be more likely to develop PTSD if there is an immediate family member who also struggles with Anxiety or panic.

Stress – Extremely high levels of stress are the core of PTSD. How one experiences stress is, again, subjective. PTSD is often associated with military combat, but it can also be the result of physical violence or emotional abuse. Women are two times more likely to develop PTSD than men.


of Americans have PTSD.


women develop PTSD due to domestic violence or assault.


of teens have been impacted by a traumatic event.

How Can I Help with Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Work Together to Get Help – Dealing with PTSD is scary, especially alone. You can’t do the work for your teen, but you can be there as a source of support. Just offering to take your teen to therapy is a huge help. Make sure they know you support them – and remind them often. It means a lot to know that people care.

Find Fun Activities to Do Together – Physical activities are a great way to deal with stress and will take your teen’s mind off of their PTSD and treatment program. Hiking, biking, swimming, dance lessons, and even martial arts classes are great ways to get active and live a healthier lifestyle.

Educate Yourself – The more you know about PTSD, the easier it will be to understand what your teen is going through. Anxiety attacks related to PTSD often leave teens feeling ashamed and guilty, making it even more difficult to think about the past and focus on the future. Your teen is at risk of developing depressive thought patterns and could turn to self-harm.

What Types of Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Are Available?

Teens don’t respond the same way adults do to PTSD treatment; the path to wellness may become challenging. It’s important for a therapist to identify your teen’s symptoms and develop a unique approach. Medication isn’t usually indicated for PTSD treatment, though there are cases where antidepressants may help control anxiety symptoms. In most instances, drugs are avoided due to their addictive nature and the fact that they don’t cure the core cause of PTSD.

Talk Therapy

Treating PTSD always involves a lot of talk therapy. Your teen’s therapist will very carefully explore the traumatic event that caused the PTSD, help them identify potential triggers, and teach them healthier coping mechanisms they can use to control attacks. Learning to identify how and why a person is reacting to a trigger makes it easier for them to teach themselves new behaviors.

Group Therapy

Talking to people who are experiencing similar issues is very helpful to teens struggling with PTSD. Group therapy environments are a great, safe place for teens to explore their experiences with the knowledge that those around them understand what they are going through.


PTSD itself isn’t usually treated with medication. Antidepressants are sometimes used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, making it easier to function. Medication can also reduce a teen’s risk factors for risky behaviors, self-harm, and even suicide.

Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco

Treating PTSD sooner rather than later is critical to your teen’s long-term success. Residential programs help them to cope with their symptoms while keeping them in a safe atmosphere dedicated to stress relief and treatment.

Enveloped in Nature

Paradigm San Francisco is surrounded by Harry Barbier Memorial Park and is just a few blocks away from San Rafael Bay. We do our best to not only treat your teen’s mental health issues, but to expose them to fresh air, sunlight, and a relaxing environment at the same time. The atmosphere isn’t the cure, but having options for stress-free relaxation between treatment sessions will certainly help them to feel better.

Tailored Programs

Paradigm San Francisco specialises in creating tailored treatment plans that incorporate a variety of approaches. Your teen will participate in group sessions and activities in addition to one-on-one treatment sessions. We know that no two cases of post traumatic stress disorder are the same, and we work hard to make sure that your teen gets the individualized attention they deserve. Our counselors and therapists will facilitate your teen’s schedule to make sure they benefit from every moment they are with us.

“Paradigm staff created a possibility for our family to really to talk each other and help our teen figure out what is best for her. She wasn't able to hide in her bs answers like at other facilities, she was really given a chance to talk honestly about what was going on and help her get to a place where she could work from. The support, the therapy (OMG the THERAPY can we just say?! Not just for our teen but our family trying to really heal and come to a better way to communicate!) When things get hard, you aren't always sure who is going to be there - but the Paradigm Malibu staff had her back and ours.  “

– Alison D.

Frequently Asked Questions about Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

When will I stop feeling this way?

There is no set timeline for treating PTSD. We can promise to work closely with you so that you will start to feel better as soon as possible. PTSD never truly disappears, but we’ll work together to come up with a treatment plan that helps you to cope with and reduce the severity of your symptoms so you can live a normal, healthy lifestyle.

How do I know if I have PTSD?

There are a couple of self-screening tests you can take online, including the PC-PTSD-5. This test may help you to process the severity and meaning of your symptoms. Self-screenings aren’t a good diagnosis, though. Only a professional can truly help you find the root cause of your PTSD and learn to work past it.

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