What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a major trauma. Children and teens with PTSD can have a number of symptoms after a trauma that fall into three categories:
- Reliving the trauma in some way. Simon wants to make a horror story with a lot of gore and no one else wants to. They start losing interest in this.
- Attempts to avoid anything that reminds the child or teen of the trauma. Simon will not go in a car so chooses to camp out at the abandoned building. Wants them all to do it.
Very high anxiety (also called “hyperarousal”) and being easily startled. Children and teens with PTSD usually have some symptoms from each of these categories.
Symptoms of high anxiety or “hyperarousal”
- Sleep difficulties. Many children and teens with PTSD have problems falling or staying asleep, which is usually the result of feeling highly anxious all day. Simon has insomnia and stays up all night smoking usually. That’s why he wants to film at night and sleep in the day.
- Anger outbursts. After a trauma, some children and teens with PTSD have a hard time controlling their anger. This can include impatience, yelling, temper tantrums, or even hitting.
Concentration difficulties. After a trauma, some children and teens have difficulty concentrating on daily activities (for example, paying attention in school). Hypervigilance. Children and teens with PTSD are often “on guard” or “on alert” all the time. Thus, they are easily startled, often jumping at the slightest sound or potential threat (for example, the school bell going off, the telephone ringing).