Post Traumatic Stress Disorder In Children

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that may occur after your child has experienced a traumatic situation or event. This event may have caused him to feel intense fear, pain, or sorrow. He may think he or someone close to him is going to get hurt or die. He may also continue to feel helpless after the event. These feelings affect his daily activities and relationships.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

RISKS:

PTSD can get worse if your child is not treated. Your child's illness could make it hard for him to do well in school or to get along with others. It may also affect the way your child eats and sleeps, which may cause him to feel sick. If your child is not treated, he may hurt himself or others.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Antianxiety: These medicines help your child feel less nervous.

  • Antidepressants: These medicines decrease or stop the symptoms of depression and other behavior problems.

  • Sedatives: These medicines help your child stay calm and relaxed. They may also help him sleep better at night.

Tests:

  • Blood tests: Your child may need blood tests to give caregivers information about how his body is working. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV.

  • Urine tests: A sample of your child's urine may be collected and sent to a lab to check the level of cortisol. This is a hormone that is released in response to stress.

Treatment:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy: This therapy helps your child learn to face his feared object or situation slowly and carefully. This may be done alone with the therapist or with family members. Your child will also learn to control his mental and physical reactions of fear.

    • Cognitive restructuring: Caregivers help your child learn which thoughts cause anxiety. His therapist helps him see the event differently so he can change his thoughts and decrease his anxiety.

    • Exposure or desensitization: Exposure or desensitization therapy helps your child face a feared object, person, or situation. Fantasy or real-life situations are used with this therapy. The goal of desensitization therapy is to help decrease your child's fear or anxiety.

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: This is also called EMDR and is a type of exposure therapy. Caregivers help your child's eyes move back and forth while he imagines the trauma.

  • Relaxation therapy: Relaxation therapy teaches your child how to calm his body and mind. The goal is to have your child feel less physical stress and have less emotional stress. Caregivers will teach your child ways to relax, such as deep breathing, meditation, relaxing muscles, music, or biofeedback.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder In Children (Inpatient Care)

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