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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis given to people who have survived traumatic experiences and have problems with:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger/hostility ggressiveness
  • Sexually inappropriate behavior
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Feelings of isolation and stigma
  • Low self-esteem
  • Struggles with trusting others
  • Substance abuse
  • Relationship problems with family and peers
  • Problems acting out
  • Problems at school
  • Sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Avoidance

Some examples of what might cause trauma in adolescents include:

  • Disasters such as floods or fires
  • Violent crimes such as kidnapping or school shootings
  • Automobile accidents and plane crashes
  • Severe burns or deadly illnesses
  • Community violence such as gang warfare or riots
  • War
  • Suicide of a peer
  • Sexual and physical abuse

Problems Associated With PTSD

Adolescents who have been traumatized often are diagnosed with other disorders stemming from PTSD. These include:

  • Major depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Separation anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Conduct disorder

Treatment

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is generally recognized as the most effective treatment for PTSD.CBT for adolescents generally includes discussion of the traumatic event (exposure), managing anxiety through relaxation and assertiveness training, and correction of distorted beliefs connected to the trauma, such as “the world is totally unsafe”. Although it is difficult to recall and discuss scary memories, exposure-based treatments are the most effective when memories or reminders of the trauma are distressing.

Logan River Academy offers a secure environment where students are protected from acting out in destructive ways while they work to resolve PTSD. At LRA, students can be exposed gradually to their traumatic memories in a trusting and safe environment in individual therapy.They process the trauma to gain perspective, understanding and peace about the event.Therapists work together with students to help them relax while recalling their experiences and to not feel threatened by them anymore. Through this procedure, they learn that they do not have to be afraid of their memories, and that they can lead a life where traumatic memories don’t control them.

Family therapy to facilitate psycho-education and parental involvement is also important in the treatment of PTSD. Psycho-education helps students and parents learn about PTSD symptoms and their effects. It is as important for parents and caregivers to understand the effects of PTSD as it is for their kids. Research shows that the better parents cope with the trauma, and the more they support their children, the better their children will function.