Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) All children may experience very stressful events that affect how they think and feel. Most of the time, children recover quickly and well. However, sometimes children who experience severe stress, such as from an injury, from the death or threatened death of a close family member or friend, or from violence, will be affected long-term. The child could experience this trauma directly or could witness it happening to someone else. When children develop long term symptoms (longer than one month) from such stress, which are upsetting or interfere with

their relationships and activities, they may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Examples of PTSD symptoms include:

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 Reliving the event over and over in thought or in play

 Nightmares and sleep problems

 Becoming very upset when something causes memories of the event

 Lack of positive emotions

 Intense ongoing fear or sadness

 Irritability and angry outbursts

 Constantly looking for possible threats, being easily startled

 Acting helpless, hopeless or withdrawn

 Denying that the event happened or feeling numb

 Avoiding places or people associated with the event

Because children who have experienced traumatic stress may seem restless, fidgety, or have trouble paying attention and staying organized, the symptoms of traumatic stress can be confused with symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Examples of events that could cause PTSD include:

 Physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment

 Being a victim or witness to violence or crime

 Serious illness or death of a close family member or friend

 Natural or manmade disasters

 Severe car accidents20