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Post Traumatic Stress In Children

Feb 27, 2008
Most people have heard of shell shock, combat stress and battlefield flashbacks. These synonyms for post traumatic stress do not, however, tell the full story. This serious mental condition is not reserved for adults and it does not solely impact veterans. Children, too, are subject to the repetitive terrors post traumatic stress can ditch out.

As it is with adults, so is it for children as far as the causes of post traumatic stress. A combination of factors comes together and flips the switch for the onset of this condition. The physical, psychological causes can include genetics and brain chemistry. The triggers, however, are almost always violent and are very traumatic. Children with post traumatic stress are likely to contract the condition following:

* Sexual abuse. Children who endure sexual abuse are sometimes subject to the onset of post traumatic stress.

* Violence. Children who witness serious violent acts, especially if they involve the death of loved ones, are more likely to develop it.

* Serious accident, natural trauma. Children who witness or are involved in serious crashes, especially involving death, can contract this condition. It is also possible for young survivors of natural disasters to face some of the problems associated with it.

Stress Symptoms

Youngsters are subject to all of the same symptoms that adults face. They, however, may also display a few others that their caregivers are likely to notice. The common symptoms of this condition in children include:

* Flashbacks. This is the prime trait of this condition no matter the sufferer's age. During flashbacks, victims of this condition vividly relive the experience that caused them trauma.

* Fear of flashback triggers. Children and adults are both likely to avoid anything they believe will trigger a flashback. This can include anything from particular images on television to sounds, smells and locations.

* Clinging behavior. While adults sometimes withdraw to avoid triggers, children are very likely to cling to a parent or other loved one. They might find it very difficult to be separated from the person they find safety and comfort in.

Treating Post Traumatic Stress

Both children and adults can benefit greatly from therapy. The Mayo Clinic points to a very good track record of recovery for patients who undergo a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

This is a serious condition that can greatly impact the life of an adult and even a child. Treating this condition if it is present can help give a child the footing he or she needs to overcome flashbacks and move on with life following a traumatic event.
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