What Are Signs of PTSD in Children?

Read Transcript

So what we want to look for is something we call functional impairment, and that means that kids jobs as being kids has been impaired, so kids jobs are to go to school and to learn and to do the best they can. Their jobs are to make and keep friends to love their families and to engage in activities that they enjoy and to keep doing that.

And if they are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with their jobs as kids, that's when we want to apply a treatment to help them to recover. Some things that we see are avoidance of people, places or things that remind them of the traumatic event, so for example if there was community violence and there was a shooting in a nearby park.

The child might not want to go to that park anymore. So that would be interfering with their job as a kid go there to have fun to play with friends and it's also avoidance. So that is considered a symptom of post traumatic stress disorder and something we'd want to work with to encourage the child to go back and to face the park and to recognize that that was an isolated incident and that the child is generally safe.

That's providing that the child is safe and that that playground is safe. So we want to look at the duration, the intensity and the impact on daily living. So if it's gone on for several weeks if it's so intense that it's hard to get out the door in the morning to go to school and if they are just not seeming like themselves, they are withdrawn, they are not spending time with their friends, they are not engaging in activities that they used to enjoy, that's when we want to get concerned and get them connected into a mental healthcare provider.