By | 2018-08-27
Ways to Tackle Teen PTSD After a Traumatic Incident

With natural catastrophes like hurricanes and storms becoming a recurring feature and manmade calamities like terror strikes at schools and busy marketplaces occurring frequently, life seems so uncertain. Considering this, human lives now seem so worthless. Such incidents leave a deep scar on survivors and witnesses. Even those who are not directly impacted feel the brunt. Teens and millennials, who start perceiving the world this way, are often more affected by these external factors. For them, the chances of encountering a traumatic situation are more than before. Whether a terrorist attack in a shopping arcade, a hurricane sweeping their pets away or a classmate on a shooting spree, the aftereffects of these incidents loom large even after the passage of a substantial amount of time. While ensuring the safety and health of their child, parents often forget that the latter might also be impacted psychologically. Even when children are not physically hurt, it is quite likely that they are shaken from within. They often fail to notice when a state of trauma turns into a severe condition like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a common psychological problem among teens and adults who have lived through some serious type of abuse or engaged in a war. It is also evident in children who have undergone major trauma due to the exposure to manmade or natural calamities, personal loss, accidents, etc. Characterized by a range of symptoms, like flashbacks, cold sweats, odd behavior, avoidance of people and places, and nightmares, the disorder could easily become more complex and debilitating in the absence of proper diagnosis and treatment in time. Teen PTSD and parental assistance Apart from the much-needed psychological intervention, medications and therapies, this condition can be tackled through adequate support and affection of the closed ones around. Being the primary source of care, both family and friends can play a vital role in developing effective coping strategies in the patient grappling with PTSD. In the case of children with PTSD, parents play a vital role in the entire process of recovery. During this challenging phase, parents need to avoid certain behaviors while dealing with their child. Some important points to be kept in mind are as follows: Recognizing the problem: It is essential to recognize that one’s loved one is struggling with PTSD. Instead of keeping the condition hidden, help should be sought at the earliest. Compared to others, children who receive the necessary intervention early have better chances of recovery. Using positive words: PTSD patients, especially children, become quite sensitive to criticisms. Parents should use positive words and reinforcement tactics. Instead of repeating their fears like “you could have been killed,” they can choose to address the situation differently. Generally, negative words, phrases or actions leave a lasting impression on the mind of a child, thus compounding the traumatic experience. On the contrary, positive statements and actions enhance his self-esteem and confidence. Becoming candid with the child: Besides avoiding negative words in front of the child, it is also essential for the parent to be open with him about the traumatic memory. This way, parents can educate their child with PTSD about the need for becoming more observant and careful while dealing with a similar event. Moving on from the trauma: Parents who are not ready to move on can instill deep-rooted fears in their child’s mind. As they cling on to the event and are fearful of anything associated with the incident, they reinforce trauma and exacerbate symptoms. As a result, the child is fearful of things and memories related with the event. However, when parents encourage him to come to terms with the past, the child has better chances of recovery. Recovering from trauma The risks of an untreated PTSD are high as it spills over in adulthood. The PTSD-affected children not only suffer from loneliness, but also tend to exhibit antisocial behavior, excessive sexual activity, self-harm, eating problems, etc. In extreme circumstances, many youngsters also attempt suicide. Another common coping mechanism among PTSD patients is the abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs.