Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Description
Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that arises as a result of a traumatic event in a teen’s life, such as the loss of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a form of physical or sexual assault. PTSD presents very extreme symptoms of stress and anxiety related to this event, such that teens’ mental, emotional, and physical health can be severely affected and therefore, their lives can be negatively affected in numerous ways.
Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms
The symptoms of Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be broken up into three different categories, including:
- Increased Arousal
- Avoidant/Numbness Response
1. Increased Arousal
In teens with PTSD, it’s common for an Increased Arousal state to arise, which is largely related to the body’s stress response system (including neurotransmitters and hormonal responses) which has been overused, due to the prolonged stress. In a sense, this system can get “worn out” and as a result, lose its sensitivity. Therefore, the nervous system gets “stuck” in an over-aroused state. The symptoms of this state include things such as constant anxiety and agitation; headaches, nausea, stomach aches, muscle tension, a rapid heart rate, insomnia, exaggerated physical responses, irritability, and inability to concentrate.
2. Avoidant/Numbness Response
Another response PTSD can have is the opposite, in which teens become numb to their own experiences. This can be caused from a combination of conscious and subconscious factors, at teens are trying to gain distance from what they experienced and the corresponding feelings. In the Avoidant/Numbness Response, teens become avoidant and numb to people, experiences, and memories. They also might develop an overall sense of apathy as well as a general lack of range of feeling.
Lastly, re-experiencing is when teens continue to experience the stress and feelings of the traumatic incident they went through, as if it was still happening. This re-experiencing often occurs in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, and certain physical symptoms.
Teen Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment
Because PTSD is triggered from trauma, teen post traumatic stress disorder treatment will generally be designed around helping teens to explore and express the feelings and thoughts surrounding the traumatic incident, as well as the symptoms which have arisen since. Understandably, because of the sensitivity of trauma treatment in general, it’s extremely important for therapists to create an environment in which teens feel safe and supported, in order to be able to explore this difficult emotional terrain. In this space, therapists will help teens to identify what sorts of effects the trauma had, and perhaps identify what sorts of “blockages” might have developed, as a result. Over time, teens will gradually be able to work through those blockages so that a healing process can take place and as a result, their symptoms will begin to alleviate.
At the same time, while working with teens during teen post traumatic stress disorder treatment to process the trauma in a healthy and holistic way, therapists will also work to help address teens’ physical symptoms, stress reactions, and the behaviors and beliefs that have developed. Therapists will often work with teens during teen post traumatic stress disorder treatment to help them to reduce stress, including things such as exercise, meditation, and yoga, and they might also work with teens to help them implement and practice new tools which will help them to more successfully navigate stress, when it arises.
Paradigm San Francisco
Paradigm San Francisco is one of the country’s leading adolescent treatment centers and focuses on providing holistic, highly individualized care for teens struggling with mental health and substance abuse conditions. Paradigm San Francisco provides treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Teen PTSD and PTSD as a Co-Occurring Disorder. Paradigm San Francisco prides itself in offering therapy programs that are uniquely designed and always include daily individual therapy sessions, in addition to peer and family group therapy sessions.