trauma in children and adolescents

Topics: Psychological trauma, Psychology, Emotion Pages: 6 (1580 words) Published: October 15, 2014
According to the Oxford dictionary, trauma is a mental condition caused by severe shock, especially when the harmful effects last for a long period of time. Trauma brings with it negative feelings like anxiety and worry. There are two types of trauma, simple or acute trauma and complex or chronic trauma. Acute traumatic events offer at a particular place and time and are usually short-lived. Examples include a road carnage, terrorist attack, loss of a loved one, or a gang-related violence in the community. On the other hand, complex traumatic events occur repeatedly over a long period of time. Examples include domestic violence, long standing sexual and physical abuse, or political wars. Complex trauma typically begins in childhood and extend over and individual’s lifespan. Trauma ruptures our connection to ourselves either physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually; to others as in families and social groups; and to nature. CHILD TRAUMATIC STRESS

Child traumatic stress occurs when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations. This exposure overwhelms their ability to cope with what they have experienced, hence making them feel helpless and hopeless. An event could be traumatic to one child and not another. Depending on their age, personality, and social support, children respond to traumatic stress in different ways. Children’s capacities to appraise and respond to danger are linked to an evolving neurobiology that consists of brain structures, neurophysiologic pathways, and endocrine systems, which underlie appraisals of dangerous situations, emotional and physical reactions, and protective actions. Traumatic experiences evoke strong biological responses that can persist and that can alter the normal course of neurobiological maturation. The neurobiological impact of traumatic experiences depends in part on the developmental stage in which they occur. Exposure to multiple traumatic experiences carries a greater risk for significant neurobiological disturbances including impairments in memory, emotional regulation, and behavioral regulation. Culture can profoundly affect the meaning that a child or family attributes to specific types of traumatic events such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, and suicide. Culture may also powerfully influence the ways in which children respond to traumatic events including the ways in which they experience and express distress, disclose personal information to others, exchange support, and seek help. Culture also strongly influences the rituals and other ways through which children and families grieve over and mourn their losses. People with childhood histories of trauma make up almost our entire criminal justice population. SIGNS OF TRAUMA IN CHILDREN

There are some common reactions that children will display outside the child’s normal range of behaviour. Many children show signs of intense distress that affect them in different ways. COGNITIVE SIGNS

Some traumatized children demonstrate poor verbal skills like stammering or they may stop talking altogether whereas they had no such issues before. They may also exhibit memory problems and develop learning disabilities. This is because trauma evokes bad feelings like fear and difficulty in thinking. It may also affect their attention in school as they may find it difficult to focus. Traumatized children may show poor skill development until their security is assured. BEHAVIORAL

Traumatized children may begin to demand attention through both positive and negative behaviors. For example, a child may become too clingy to a caregiver and may exhibit fear of being separated from them. Others may result to excessive crying that they did not show before the occurrence of the traumatic event. They may also exhibit regressive behaviors like thumb-sucking which gives them some form of comfort, while others may lose skills that they had already acquired like toilet training and walking. Traumatized...
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