Post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents

Post -traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a syndrome defined by the intrusive re-experiencing of trauma, avoidance of reminders of the trauma and increased hyperarousal. Although the condition is well established in adults, there is little research into PTSD in children and adolescents. The available research shows that young people experience similar symptoms to adults. Risk factors include family dysfunction, peer problems, greater exposure to the trauma and the presence of pre-existing psychiatric disorder such as anxiety. Protective factors include good coping skills, good relationship with a parent and support from others in the community. This article reviews treatment approaches to PTSD in young people in particular the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Key words. PTSD, hyperarousa!, avoidance, CBT.

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