What are trauma disorders?
Traumatic disorders involve exposure to actual or threatened serious injury, death, or violence. Your child may have directly witnessed the event or learned about the event.
After the event occurred, intrusion symptoms may develop where your child may experience nightmares, flashbacks, or distressing memories about the event. Your child may also attempt to avoid situations associated with the event such as not wanting to talk about it or relive the experience.
Treatment is necessary for traumatic and stress-related disorders as these disorders can cause considerable impairment in all areas of functioning.
What are adjustment disorders?
Adjustment disorders are characterized by the presence of emotional and/or behavioral symptoms after a stressor. Some examples of stressors include divorce, parental deployment, or a family move. When unexpected or bad things happen, most people get upset. This is not an adjustment disorder. An adjustment disorder occurs only when the response exceeds what would normally be expected.
More than 60% of children age 17 and younger have been exposed to crime, violence and abuse either directly or indirectly.
What does treatment look like?
For adjustment disorders, it is often helpful to talk with children about the stressor, normalize their feelings, and teach the child healthier ways to express their emotions. Since adjustment disorders often affect more than just the child, it is often helpful to have parent and family sessions as well.
Dr. Jill Driest completed specialized training in trauma, grief, and loss. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.
Unfortunately, children may experience things that they are not emotionally or psychologically ready to handle. These traumatic experiences can dramatically interfere with their functioning and their development. It is important to develop an individualized treatment plan that uniquely addresses your child’s needs.
Your therapist will help your child and the rest of the family process thoughts and feelings regarding the traumatic event and modify your child’s reactions to the feared situation while helping your child develop effective coping and problem-solving skills in a supportive environment.