Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Essay

1555 Words 7 Pages
Introduction

The focus of this program is to increase awareness about children with post-traumatic

stress disorder ages 3 to 17. Trauma is the key to understanding post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma is an overwhelming event that takes away a persons safety, it creates a sense of

helplessness and it continues to affect ones perception of reality. According to the American Psychological Association, “Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident,

rape or natural disaster.” (APA, 2013) Any form of trauma that results in lasting emotional damage can be categorized as PTSD.

Children can develop PTSD if they have lived through or seen an event that could have

caused them, someone they know or their community harm.
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Currently, the DSM’s diagnosis criterion for PTSD in children is based off a diagnosis for an adult. There are many reasons as to why the adult

criterion does not work for children. Some changes have been made to the adult based DSM criteria to attempt to address the presentation in children. Philip Saigh’s Children’s PTSD Inventory was designed assesses PTSD symptoms in youths 6 to 18 years old. Taking into account the developmental stages of a child as they grow.

Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children

In children, common symptoms include distressing dreams concerning the trauma, Avoidance of triggering stimulus is when the child deliberately avoids any thought, object, place or situation

that is related to the traumatic experience. Flashbacks and memories may be intrusive and may

interfere with function at home or school. They may include visual or auditory aspects from the

event causing the child to feel as if it is happening all over again. For example, if the child was sexually abused they may mutilate a doll, or if they experienced a school shooting they may have a desire to play

shooting games.
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It can be used to treat

young children who are not able to deal with the trauma more directly.

According to Dr. Tom McIntyre, “Play therapy is a technique whereby the child’s natural means of expression, namely play, is used as a therapeutic method to assist him/her in coping with

emotional stress or trauma.” (Philo, 2013)

Child-Parent Psychotherapy is a treatment used for children ages 0-5. CPP is an attachment-based model that uses the relationship between the child and parent to address the

child’s trauma symptoms. CPP combines elements of Cognitive-Behavioral, attachment-based,

and psychodynamic therapies to treat young children who have witnessed or experienced family violence or trauma. This treatment legitimizes the child’s feelings while highlighting the need for safe/appropriate behavior. A central goal is to support and strengthen the caregiver-child

relationship as a vehicle for restoring and protecting the child’s mental health. (Ghosh Ippen, 2015)

Not all children exposed to traumatic events develop PTSD and if they do they do not all present with the same symptoms and cannot all be treated the same

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