PTSD in Children: Causes and warning signs

PTSD is a well-known disorder in adults, but children can suffer as well.

Lynne Adkins
July 14, 2018 - 9:45 pm
Sad Child
Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- PTSD is a well-known disorder in adults, but children can suffer as well.

Child abuse, a serious car accident, a deadly fire or surviving two weeks in a dark, wet cave all can result in post-traumatic stress syndrome in children. Max Greenspan, a licensed clinical social worker at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, says any horrific accident could be to blame.

"Things that result in children feeling intense fear, horror, shame or guilt associated with something that puts them in emotional threatening situation," Greenspan said. "These things can be natural disasters, a dramatic loss of a loved one, or even things as significant as sexual abuse, or physical abuse or neglect.

And Greenspan says there are signs.

"The changes in their thinking," he said, "from changes the way they view the world, themselves and their future safety, changes in their feeling, intensified feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, shame, as well as changes in their body, exaggerated startle responses or difficulty sleeping, changes in their appetite."

He says there are plenty of local experts to consult and talking about the trauma does help.