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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety in children

Growing up can be hard and scary for kids because they have to learn new skills, deal with new situations, and figure out how to get around in a world that isn't always clear. But when these worries or stresses become too much for a child to handle, coupled with insufficient adult support, the child may suffer from mental health disorders. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety are among children's most common mental health issues. Roughly one in eight children experiences an anxiety disorder, although many go without treatment. PTSD is a trauma- and stress-related condition that shares symptoms with common anxiety disorders. Research shows that between 15% and 43% of girls and between 14% and 43% of boys experience at least one stressful event that can lead to PTSD.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children


Post-traumatic stress disorder (commonly known as PTSD) is a mental health illness that affects people of all ages, even children. When a child has PTSD, it frequently manifests as frightening thoughts and memories of a traumatic event that they found physically or emotionally upsetting. These symptoms could appear immediately following the incident or months later. Chronic PTSD in children may be accompanied by the following:

● Abuse of drugs (in teens)

● Anxiety

● Suicidal thoughts and self-harm


A child may have PTSD if they see or experience something scary or hear about something scary from a close friend or family member. Bad accidents, the death of loved ones, invasive medical procedures, natural disasters, violent attacks on other people, abuse, neglect, and bullying are all examples of these kinds of things. The likelihood that a kid may develop PTSD depends on several things, including how close they were to the traumatic incident, how severe it was, how resilient they were, how well they coped, and how much help they had from their friends and family. When a child has flashbacks to a traumatic event, they may feel both physical and emotional pain, which often manifests in the form of:


● Trying to avoid situations that can trigger flashbacks to the painful event

● dreaming about the traumatic event repeatedly or experiencing flashbacks to the event

● Playing out scenarios that bring up memories of the trauma

● Acting rashly or antagonistically

● Constantly feeling anxious or worried

● Having no feelings or being unable to empathize

● Having trouble keeping my focus in class.


Treatment of PTSD in Children


Through a mental health evaluation, a child psychiatrist or other mental health specialist can figure out what's wrong. The severity of the disorder, age, overall health, and a child's PTSD symptoms all influence how the issue is treated. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common evidence-based talk therapy for mental disorders. It focuses on changing negative thoughts and actions and is often the preferable psychotherapy for treating post-traumatic stress disorder in children. You can also give medications for depression or anxiety, but only under the supervision of a doctor. Family therapy can also come in handy. It can help by getting the child's family and other loved ones involved in their treatment and giving them more support. The best results will come from finding a mental health professional who has worked with children with PTSD before and involving other family members in the therapy process.


Early detection and treatment of any medical condition affecting a child gives them a better chance of recovery and living healthy after a traumatic experience. By teaching your child about boundaries and triggers, supporting prevention initiatives, being supportive, and getting treatment for them, you can help your child recover fully.


Anxiety Disorders in Children


Anxiety in children and teenagers can show up in many ways, such as changes in their mood, what they eat, how they sleep, and how they act. Typical signs of anxiety in kids are:

 Clinginess

 Dreading or missing school

 Crying and looking scared or sad

 Refusing to talk or do routine things.


In addition, they may have physiological signs like trembling, agitation, shortness of breath, "butterflies" in the stomach, a flushed face, cold hands, parched lips, or a racing

heart.


These bodily signs result from the bod's "fight or flight" reaction to danger. Also, anxious kids may find it hard to relax, eat well, or sleep and may feel much fear and anxiety. They could struggle to concentrate in class and avoid social events or settings where they might run into things or people they are afraid of or would rather avoid.


Some of the anxiety disorders that may affect children and adolescents are:


Generalized anxiety disorder

A child with GAD will show signs such as worrying too much, almost daily, about things like schoolwork, tests, failures, birthday parties, play dates with friends, and the future. This may impair a child's ability to learn, unwind, and enjoy themselves.


Separation anxiety disorder

When a kid has persistent distress while separated from a parent or the safety of home, we call this condition separation anxiety disorder. This may cause problems, including skipping classes, being too dependent on parents, weeping easily, and refusing to do anything without them.


Social phobia

When children have social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, they are excessively concerned with what other people think of them. They could skip class or withdraw from friends because they have trouble dealing with social settings or freeze up when put in the position.


Panic disorder

Anxiety disorders like panic disorder are marked by sudden, intense bouts of anxiety that cause shaking, a fast heartbeat, and trouble breathing.


Selective mutism (SM)

SM is a severe form of social anxiety in which a child refuses to speak in social situations where they feelu ncomfortable.


Phobias

Animals, spiders, and needles are just a few examples of the things people with particular phobias have a morbid and persistent dread of seeing. A child with a phobia will go to any length to avoid coming into contact with the object of their fear, and if forced to get close to it, they may experience extreme distress.


Physical signs of anxiety in children include trembling, feeling restless or short of breath, "butterflies" in the stomach, a heated face, parched lips, and a racing heart. These occur because of the "fight or flight" reaction in the body. Clinging, sobbing, showing fear or sadness, and not wanting to converse or join in on activities are all signals that parents or instructors may pick up on.


The Bottomline

If your child is under a lot of stress or goes through a traumatic event when they are young, it could hurt their brain, especially their emotional and cognitive circuits. Be there for your kid and help them cope with mental health problems like anxiety and PTSD. Happily, there are accessible care methods. Don't wait to get assistance if you need it.


Helpful Resources

  1. https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_children_teens

  2. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=post-traumatic-stress-disorder-in-

  3. children-90-P02579

  4. https://www.psycom.net/ptsd-in-children-and-adolescents

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih-gov/pmc/articles/PMC5965038/

  6. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/

  7. https://www.ecmhc.org/tutorials/trauma/mod2_3.html

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