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POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)
Taking The Steps To A Healthy Body And Mind

Amalie came to see me a few weeks after her family’s home tragically burned to the ground. Amalie and her sister were in their upstairs bedroom when the fire swept through their home. They were rescued by fire fighters and watched from the road as their home came crashing down. Amalie was 6 years old and seemed “fine at first,” according to her mother. However, a few weeks after the fire, Amalie started having intense nightmares during which she would sit straight up in bed screaming. “It takes a while to get her settled back into bed. Sometimes she remembers in the morning and sometimes she doesn’t. She’s also not wanting to leave my side. Like, ever. She cries when I drop her off at school and her teacher has told me that she’s not playing with her friends during recess, but prefers to sit with her teacher on the sidelines.” Amalie told me that she could not stand to see fire burning and that seeing a lit candle made her mouth feel dry and her chest hurt. She had stopped eating much and subsequently lost about 5 pounds in the past month.

I explained to Amalie’s mother that she was experiencing post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Amalie’s mother was surprised as she had only heard of soldiers getting PTSD. I explained that the nightmares, separation anxiety, decreased social interaction and intense fear when exposed to triggers like a candle flame were all indicative of PTSD and that it’s a disorder that can happen to anyone who experiences something that feels life threatening to the person at the time it happens. Also, PTSD often shows up weeks, months, or sometimes, even years, after the life threatening event occurred.

Amalie decided to see a trauma focused therapist twice a week and, a few weeks later, we all decided that Amalie would benefit from a mild medication to help ease her nightmares and improve her functioning. Her treatment plan worked very well and she completed therapy and medication within the year. She no longer has nightmares, is back to playing with friends at school, has been on a couple of successful sleepovers at friends homes and even went camping with her family and was able to roast ‘smores over the campfire without triggering any panic or flashbacks.

Facts About Childhood PTSD

  • The symptoms of PTSD may last from several months to several years.
  • Medication can be helpful to deal with agitation, anxiety, or depression.
  • Individual, group, or family therapy, behavioral therapy, trauma focused therapy, art therapy, play therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can all be very useful in recovering from PTSD.
  • One in eight children suffer trauma that leads to significant impairments in their mental and physical wellbeing.

What WellPsyche Patients Are Saying

“Our family was involved in a car jacking during which both of our children had guns pointed in their faces by masked men. No one was physically hurt, thank God, but we all suffered the after effects in different ways. My 11 year old started having nightmares about masked men shooting him, refused to sleep in his own room, refused to go to school and basically stopped playing with his brother or friends. Therapy helped him regain his sense of safety and stability. It took some time, but he’s a happy, well adjusted kid again now.”

Grace, Darius's Mom

“Our daughter was bullied so severely in school that she was eventually diagnosed with PTSD from all the bullying. Of course, by the time she told us about it, she was having trouble sleeping and eating and had almost stopped talking completely, even at home. We addressed the situation with the school and the appropriate measures were taken but Ellie continued to struggle. We didn’t want to put her on medication but after speaking with our mental health specialist, we decided it was the best decision for her. After a few weeks of treatment with medication and therapy, Ellie, started sleeping through the night again. Then she started to eat a little more. Day by day, week by week, we saw our precious girl come back to her normal, bubbly self. I’m so happy we got her help when we did. The story could have ended much differently.”

Genevieve, Ellie's Mom

Did You Know?

MANY famous and highly successful people have been diagnosed with PTSD including Ariana Grande, Singer and Songwriter, Shia LaBeouf, Actor, Monica Seles, Famous Tennis Player, Lady Gaga, Singer, Songwriter and Actress just to name a few.

PTSD Resources

Websites:

Videos:

Books:

  • Does My Child Have PTSD? What to Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out by Jolene Philo
  • A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes
  • Healing Days: A Guide for Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma by Susan Farber Straus

For Parents

As a parent, you want the best for your children. You may be concerned or have questions about certain behaviors they exhibit and how to ensure they get help. We have provided some guidance and resources to get you started.

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