The scars etched on one’s soul may not be visible but the immense pain and unbearable suffering that they give rise to can become a big hindrance to happiness in one’s life. Resilience is the one quality that can help a person recover from difficulties or distressing incidents but there are times when people find it difficult to face everyday life after a traumatic experience. Episodes of violent crime, natural disasters or abuse (physical, psychological or sexual) may lead to building up of constant stress that disrupts normal living. If left untreated, this may culminate into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can continue into adolescence and adulthood.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 8 million adults suffer from PTSD in any given year. Thus, it is necessary to inform people about the factors that may cause this disorder. To draw the attention to the issue of PTSD, the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD) observes “PTSD Awareness Month” every year in June. During this period, health care providers, voluntary service workers and social media groups offer their resources to raise awareness about symptoms of this mental health problem and its impact on the lives of men, women and children.
There is no particular age for the onset of PTSD. School-aged children affected with PTSD may exhibit signs of the disease through the reenactment of the trauma in play, drawings or verbalizations. Though these symptoms may gradually fade away age; lack of family support or timely psychological help may cause the symptoms to snowball into bigger complications during adulthood. Teens suffering from PTSD tend to have a distorted image of themselves and often exhibit signs of emotional numbing, social withdrawal and isolation apart from severe cognitive changes.
Not all traumatic incidents lead to PTSD in adolescents. The symptoms that cause extreme distress or impairment in social or other areas of functioning must continue for at least one month for it to be considered an illness.
Stories of survival raise understanding about PTSD
Nebraska’s Mashaya Sierra Dierking due to receive the Salvation Army’s D.J.’s Hero Scholarship was diagnosed with PTSD when she was barely three years old. Dierking feared everything, including dogs, elevators or escalators. Though the exact nature of her experience that led to the onset of the disorder could not be known, experts suggested that her mother’s callousness in leaving her to the care of strangers or locking her up in the bathroom while taking drugs might have accounted for such unusual behavior. Post detection, years of counseling and support of loved ones helped her overcome the disease. The experience has instilled in her the desire to help others who have experienced similar traumatic conditions.
Anne (name changed) who was raped on her way back home from school shared similar symptoms. While she suffered from PTSD, she managed to share her painful experiences with people whom she trusted and loved. Years of therapeutic intervention and support from her loved ones helped her live the life she wished.
Recovery is possible
Persistent trauma during childhood affects school-aged children and teenagers alike. According to experts, proper support and regular treatment do help adolescents suffering from PTSD overcome anxiety and pain, characteristic of the disorder. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego provides behavioral treatments for mental illnesses like PTSD to adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years. The mental health facilities for teens are equipped with state-of-the-art treatment methods, customized to meet each adolescent’s needs. For more information about teen mental health rehabs in your vicinity, contact our 24/7 helpline or chat online.