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Child Traumatic Stress

Child and Adolescent | Child Traumatic Stress

Child traumatic stress is when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or situations, and when this exposure overwhelms their ability to cope. When children have been exposed to situations where they feared for their lives, believed they could have been injured, witnessed violence, or tragically lost a loved one, they may show signs of traumatic stress. The impact of trauma depends on his or her subjective reaction to the events, and on his or her age and developmental level.

If your child is experiencing traumatic stress you might notice the following signs:

  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bed-wetting or other regression in behavior
  • Interference with developmental milestones
  • Anger
  • Getting into fights at school or fighting more with siblings
  • Difficulty paying attention to teachers at school and to parents at home
  • Avoidance of scary situations
  • Withdrawal from friends or activities
  • Nervousness or jumpiness
  • Intrusive memories of what happened
  • Play that includes recreating the event