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Is My Teen Suffering from Trauma?

Teen near window who's suffering from trauma

Traumatic events are relatively common among America’s children and teenagers. Events of this type heavily strain the human capacity to withstand excessive stress. As a result, they can trigger severe, adverse mental health changes. The most well-known of these changes is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, your child may also be affected in other ways. Enrollment in adolescent trauma therapy can help your teen restore well-being following a traumatic experience. Call 888.291.2309 to speak with someone from the knowledgeable and compassionate staff at Imagine Fort Collins about our teen trauma therapy options.

Basics of Teen Trauma

An experience can become traumatic to an adult, teen, or younger child if it does at least one of several things, including:

  • Causing intense fear for your safety or even your life
  • Triggering the same kinds of fears for another person
  • Making you a direct witness to other people’s traumatic experiences

As humans grow and develop, the capacity to tolerate trauma exposure typically increases. As a rule, adults show the most significant trauma tolerance. In contrast, young children show the least. Teenagers’ capacity to cope with trauma generally falls between these extremes.

How Trauma Affects Teens

There is a good chance that your teenager will only experience short-term trauma effects. Most teens recover from most forms of trauma exposure on their own. This happens when your child’s current coping abilities are enough to limit the impact of trauma. However, your teen may not recover in this way. Instead, they may continue to experience trauma’s negative impact. PTSD is more or less synonymous with unresolved trauma. Your teen may also develop symptoms of a shorter-term condition called acute stress disorder.

In addition, other mental health issues may arise in the wake of trauma exposure. For example, your teen may develop symptoms of depression or an anxiety disorder. Teenagers affected by unresolved trauma also have elevated substance use risks.

How to Tell If Your Teenager Is Suffering from Trauma

Is it possible to spot the presence of ongoing teen trauma? Yes. Like adults, teens often develop outward signs of a lingering traumatic response. Some of these signs are the same as those that affect adults. Others differ. Things to look for include:

  • Prominent feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, or anxiousness
  • Alterations in their normal sleep behaviors
  • Declining interest in school
  • A similar loss of interest in friendships or favored activities
  • Problems remembering things or thinking clearly
  • Withdrawal from social and family contact
  • Unusual touchiness or moodiness

Your teen may also revert to problem behaviors more common among younger children.

Looking for PTSD Signs in Teens

Has your child struggling with trauma developed PTSD? Potential PTSD signs in teens include nightmares, insomnia, and involuntary flashbacks to a traumatic event. They also include other forms of unwanted re-experiencing of trauma.

In addition, affected teens may have unusual problems at home or school. They may also be unusually jumpy, avoid any kind of trauma reminder, or decline to talk about their experiences. Many affected teens feel numb or angry. In addition, many are easily retriggered back into a traumatized state.

Is Your Teen Suffering from Trauma? Find Help in Colorado at Imagine Fort Collins

Want to know more about how trauma affects teens? Consult the professionals at Imagine Fort Collins. We understand the many ways in which teenagers react to trauma. With our help, you can get a clearer picture of your child’s current situation.

Imagine features a specialized teen trauma therapy program. No matter how your child is suffering, our customized plans support restoring their well-being and sense of security. Contact Imagine Fort Collins today at 888.291.2309 or complete our online contact form to find out more.