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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children

Parents often feel frustrated and overwhelmed with their children’s behaviour and are at a loss for what to do for them. Sometimes the cause can be misdiagnosed as attention deficit and disruptive disorders, separation anxiety, reactive attachment disorder, and oppositional defiant or conduct disorders.

If your child is exhibiting any of these symptomatic behaviours, it’s important to seek help right away. Unlike grief, trauma reactions tend to become worse over time and not better.

Your child deserves to live a happier, healthy life and the sooner his or her PTSD issues are addressed, the better for your child and your family. Please contact me today.

For adults, PTSD can be terrifying. But for children who have suffered a traumatic event, the symptoms are amplified. Their sense of safety is shattered. Feelings of trust are gone. The effects can be devastating.

Here are the most common symptoms of PTSD in children:

  • Development of new fears or the opposite – not afraid of anything
  • Afraid to be left alone
  • Regression – bedwetting, thumb sucking, clinginess, baby talk, sleep with a stuff animal.
  • Separation anxiety (particularly in young children)
  • Intrusive thoughts and images of the traumatic incident
  • Flashbacks – reliving the trauma through repetitive play (particularly children who experienced sexual abuse or domestic violence)
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Nightmares
  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Restlessness and reduced concentration
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Inability to follow instructions or complete simple tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disruption in short-term memory
  • Impulsivity
  • High-risk behaviors
  • Dissociation – blank stare
  • Decline in school work
  • Irritability
  • Anger outbursts
  • Mood shifts
  • Somatic (physical) complaints like headaches or stomach aches
  • Avoidance
  • Feeling jumpy and nervous
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