Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a stress-related disorder that manifests as a result of traumatic experiences endured by an individual (i.e., assault, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, accidents, fires, death of a loved one). Not all children who experience a traumatic event develop a stress disorder due to differences between individuals8.
Individuals with PTSD may attempt to avoid memories, feelings, or external situations which remind them of a traumatic experience. They may display difficulty recalling and remembering specific aspects of the traumatic event, often blaming themselves for the trauma. They can also display a sense of anxiousness or hyperarousal, difficulty concentrating, and can find it hard to sleep at times due to nightmares associated with the traumatic event. They are often detached from themselves as though living in a dream or a world that feels unreal8.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Feeling depressed or grumpy.
- Feeling nervous, anxious, alert, or watchful (on guard).
- Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
- Seeming to be detached, numb, or unresponsive.
- Difficulty feeling affectionate.
- Increased aggression or even becoming violent at times.
- Avoiding certain situations or places that recall past memories associated with the past traumatic experience.
- Losing touch with reality.
- Difficulty within school.
- Physical symptoms including headaches or stomach aches.