There are two types of trauma that lead to PTSD symptoms among young people. One is exposure to a sudden, one-time event whereas the other is the result of exposure of repeated events. No matter what the “cause” was the condition in childhood and adolescence can effect normal development which can disrupt the acquisition of the skills necessary for a child to become self-sufficient. Because brain development occurs fairly rapidly if a trauma is experiences parts of the brain may slow or stop in their development process. This paper will discuss how to recognize and treat PTSD, limitations of treatment options, treatment options, training for professionals, and ethnic differences.
The diagnosis of Post –Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) involves clusters of symptoms. They include persistent re-experiencing of the trauma, avoidance of traumatic reminders/ general numbing of emotional responsiveness, and hyper-arousal (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). In order for the possible diagnosis of PTSD the individual needs to have exposed to a traumatic event that has caused stress, fear, or helplessness. Examples of re-experiencing include intrusive distressing recollections of the event through images, dreams, thoughts, or perception of the event occurring in present time (2000). Avoidance/numbing refers restrictive range of affect, feeling of detachment or estrangement from other, inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma (2000). Hyper-arousal symptoms include but are not limited to the following: difficulty falling or staying asleep, hyper-vigilance, exaggerated startle response, and difficulty concentrating (2000). The above symptoms need duration of at least one month and cause functional ...
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...s on how many experience traumatic events include the following as provided by Hamblem and Barnet (2014):
- Children: 78.5% suffered neglect, 17.6% suffered physical abuse, and 9.1% suffered sexual abuse
- Older children: 46.3& experienced physical assault, 10.2% experienced child maltreatment, 6.1 % experienced sexual victimization, and 25.3% had witnessed domestic/community violence
Additional risk factors beyond exposure include female gender, previous trauma exposure, preexisting psychiatric disorders, parental psychopathology, and low social support (Hamblen & Barnet, 2014).
In conclusion, PTSD is increasingly recognized to be a prevalent and disabling disorder in children and adolescents and there have been some advances in learning to recognize the risk factors and pathogenesis there is hope because of the interventions that we as clinicians have access to.
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