A response to any disturbing or distressing event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope with that specific event is known as trauma. These distressing events leave a mark on a patient's mind forever making them unable to live a normal life. Children trauma occur when a child witnesses or experiences something negative in their childhood (Cook & Mallah, 2017). There are several reasons due to which a child experiences trauma such as trauma from something done to a child. This may include sexual and physical abuse or witnessing violence at home or in a community. Trauma can also occur when a child is neglected both physically and emotionally (Schimmenti, 2018). As children are sensitive they can experience trauma if their caretaker or parents are suffering from trauma themselves.
Several surveys have shown that almost half of the children in the US have experienced at least one traumatic incident in their lives. As children cannot express their feelings and emotions in the form of words so they are unable to explain the issues they are facing. It is, therefore, necessary to analyze the symptoms carefully so that they can be treated more effectively (Kiser & Busuito, 2019). The ten most common symptoms that can be seen in a child who has experienced trauma are listed below:
Children who have experienced trauma are become extremely sensitive and will cry even
when asked about the event. This will, in turn, lead them to depression.
2. Aggressive/Defensive behavior
Children may become aggressive and will scream a lot to express their frustration
(Piotrowski & Cameranesi, 2018). This happens especially when children experience trauma due to abuse.
3. Inability to socialize (social isolation)
Children after experiencing trauma start to distance themselves from other people and therefore will unable to make friends. They often tend to not involve in any social activities and will just isolate themselves.
4. Sleep disorder
Children may experience nightmares regarding the bad experience they have faced or witnessed. Due to this, they are unable to sleep (Lemyre & Vallières, 2019).
5. Eating disorders
Due to lack of physical activities and inability to sleep children also suffer from eating disorders. This involves abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a child’s mental and physical health.
6. Inability to concentrate
Most of the children who have experienced trauma often refuse to go to school and even in school due to flashbacks of a traumatic incident they are unable to concentrate. This hinders their learning and problem-solving ability.
7. Anxiousness and anxiety
Children will experience extreme panic attacks over a simple situation. They will often get nervous when asked about the traumatic event. The stress due to trauma serves as a major factor in increasing anxiety.
Typically, after traumatic incident children isolate themselves from other people. This is because they are unable to trust others and consider every person dangerous.
9. Easily startled
Children become sensitive to touch after they suffer a physical trauma due to which the can be easily startled. They will react abruptly when they hear an unexpected noise or touch.
10. Poor impulse control
Growing up in a chaotic environment can lead to poor impulse control in children. This makes children unable to control their anger or sadness.
The symptoms mentioned above assist a lot in the survival process. As it helps in clear diagnosis that will further facilitate in treating the issue. It is necessary to give children a period of adjustment by supporting them throughout the healing process. If a child is unable to discuss the traumatic incident use several therapies such as CBT or play therapy that will let children open up about the issue. It is necessary to reassure a child that the incident was not their fault and not criticizing the regressive behavior (Diehle & Lindauer, 2015). This will help in building their confidence that will in turn help in the healing process.
Cook, A., Spinazzola, J., Ford, J., Lanktree, C., Blaustein, M., Cloitre, M., ... & Mallah, K. (2017). Complex trauma in children and adolescents. Psychiatric annals, 35(5), 390-398.
Diehle, J., Opmeer, B. C., Boer, F., Mannarino, A. P., & Lindauer, R. J. (2015). Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing: What works in children with posttraumatic stress symptoms? A randomized controlled trial. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 24(2), 227-236.
Kiser, L., Fishbein, D., Gatzke-Kopp, L., Vivrette, R., Creavey, K., Stevenson, J., ... & Busuito, A. (2019). Physiological Regulation among Caregivers and their Children: Relations with Trauma History, Symptoms, and Parenting Behavior. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-12.
Lemyre, A., Bastien, C., & Vallières, A. (2019). Nightmares in mental disorders: A review. Dreaming, 29(2), 144.
Piotrowski, C. C., & Cameranesi, M. (2018). Aggression by children exposed to IPV: Exploring the role of child depressive symptoms, trauma-related symptoms, & warmth in family relationships. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 49(3), 360-371.
Schimmenti, A. (2018). The trauma factor: Examining the relationships among different types of trauma, dissociation, and psychopathology. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 19(5), 552-571.
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