Teen Childhood Trauma Disorder

As a child matures he/she may witness and experience numerous things that may affect him/her both positively and negatively. If a child suffers trauma or abuse in the early formative years, this may have a long-lasting and far-reaching effects on his/her normal development. Often, if a child or teen is unable to release and express the trauma in a healthy way, he/she may resort to drug/alcohol addiction to numb the pain and/or develop mental health disorders triggered as a result of the trauma.

Types of Traumas

Adolescent Trauma is not uncommon and may cause a teen to indulge in unsafe behaviors. Common behaviors for teenagers who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic incident include drug/alcohol abuse, promiscuity, and running away from home.

Acute Trauma can have a far-reaching adverse effect and may cause devastation to a child’s mental health and development. Acute trauma may include experiencing or witnessing a death, injury, or sexual violation.

Chronic Trauma is when a child is exposed to a trauma repeatedly over a long period of time, such as continuous sexual or physical abuse, ongoing domestic violence, continuous bullying at school or at home, and a general unstable and violent family life. In addition to the chronic trauma, a teen may develop secondary feelings of fear, shame and sadness due to the chronic struggle.

Symptoms of Trauma

A teen suffering from trauma may be unable to deal with his/her emotions effectively. The age of he/she experienced or witnessed the traumatic incident, as well as the age of the teen at the time of being symptomatic, are factors that influence how he/she will respond to treatment.
Symptoms include:

  • Loss of sleep
  • Difficulty focusing in school
  • Intense crying
  • Outburst of anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inability to follow rules
  • Trust issues
  • Difficulty being open about his/her feelings
  • Feelings of insecurity
  • Feelings of guilt

Effects of Trauma

Trauma may influence the natural development of the teenage brain. Certain areas of the brain like motor control, memory, cognitive ability, sleep, and impulse control could be adversely affected by trauma.

Childhood trauma may impair the normal functioning of a child and a teenager. Such functions may include – the ability to organize, the ability to follow a schedule, the ability to make decisions, impulse control, ability to recognize what is an appropriate behavioral norm or behavior, and ability to recall details and facts.

Treating Childhood Trauma Disorder

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is when a patient’s rapid, periodic eye movements are used to diminish the effects of past traumatic events.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) encourages the patient to communicate, identify his thought patters, problem solve, and develop tools to assist him/her to deal with destructive thought patterns and replace them with constructive behaviors actions. CBT usually takes place as 45 minute sessions weekly for an ongoing period of time .

Intensive Trauma Therapy (ITT) includes the use art therapy, play therapy, guided imagery and individual psychotherapy. Patients are encouraged to process trauma through the use of these alternative healing modalities.

Teen Aftercare

Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center (Hillcrest) is uniquely situated and designed to provide and nurture healing on all levels. As an elegant green rehabilitation oasis in the Agoura foothills, Hillcrest aims to cater to each client’s physical, emotional, mental, psychological and nutritional needs, specifically through individualized and diverse treatment plans. Hillcrest focuses on the key principles of mind-body health and provides wholesome healing in a mostly unplugged and small group environment.

Upon admission, each client is provided with the opportunity to undergo a series of professional evaluations in order to understand the root of the client’s struggle. Guided by dedicated doctoral-level practitioners, the best resources are then gathered to pave a clear treatment path for each client using bespoke, multi-disciplined therapeutic treatment plans. Hillcrest aims to provide the highest level of professional care and provide the client with an excellent, well-balanced and well-rounded experience while being treated at the facility, as well as the adequate tools to function independently and responsibly post-treatment. At Hillcrest, you are your loved one are supported every step of the way on this journey to long-lasting and sustained healing.

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