Adolescents are a busy group of humans. They barely stop moving unless it’s to sleep or they’re ill. Mental health symptoms from past trauma may significantly impact their lives as well.
Trauma doesn’t have to be large, horrific events where people are hurt – they definitely can be. Trauma can also be small events that add up overtime. For example, middle school bullying or being shamed by an adult while playing a sport. Our society is also much too aware of the increase in physical violence at and in our schools.
What is adolescent trauma?
Trauma itself is a vague term as it allows for each person to self-identify what constitutes a trauma. Adolescence is a time period from age 12 to 17 years old. Thus, ‘adolescent trauma’ refers to trauma(s) that occur during this time period.
As trauma can be self-defined, a more severe response to trauma is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Depending on the adolescent they can experience trauma, PTSD, or both. The National Center for PTSD explains that the following bullet points are Criterion A categories needed for a PTSD diagnosis:
- A life-threatening situation
- Witnessing a traumatic event
- Sexual abuse
- Unplanned or violent death of a loved one
- Repeated exposure to aversive details of traumatic situations
What are forms of adolescent trauma?
- Being made fun of at school
- Picked on for the way they look
- Singled out by teachers for poor school performance
- Emotional abuse
- Physical violence
- Sexual abuse
- Manipulation by peers
How can trauma affect an adolescent?
An adolescent’s trauma response will likely vary from person-to-person. Trauma can negatively impact various areas of an adolescent’s life to include:
- Connections with others
- Poor school performance
- Sleep patterns
- Sports involvement
- Ability to develop healthy social relationships with others
- Negative thoughts about themselves, others, and the world
How can I support my adolescent to heal from trauma?
Adolescence is a time of growth, choice, and independence. Parents can allow space for their adolescent to try self-regulation skills and support them in this process. If symptoms continue to persist, then working with your school guidance counselor may be a way to support further healing. Giving your adolescent choices to make informed decisions can help foster independence and sustain effort towards recovery.
The severity of your adolescent’s trauma and symptoms may necessitate the use of a local trauma therapist to support them in their recovery. A local therapist can be a great method to provide your adolescent with a non-judgmental space to express their concerns, worries, and integrate past traumatic material to alleviate symptoms.
What types of therapy are effective for adolescent trauma?
Find a local adolescent EMDR therapist in Denver, CO.
Working with an adolescent trauma therapist may be just what your child needs. Our work can help your adolescent heal and break free from the chains of trauma. Call now or submit a form here to schedule a free 20-minute consultation meeting.