What is Trauma?
Trauma is defined to be a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Trauma is entirely subjective, meaning there is no perfect definition of what constitutes a traumatic event. An event that is traumatic for one teenager may not be for another. Because not everybody experiences trauma in the same ways, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose and treat. However, there are some symptoms of trauma that are common and appear in most cases, and they can be used as clues to determine if your teenager is experiencing trauma.
Symptoms of Trauma in Wyoming Teens
Everybody’s experience with trauma is unique and should be treated with personalized care based on their symptoms and needs. This means that if your teen has experienced a traumatic event, it is likely that they will only show some of these symptoms:
- Sudden and sometimes drastic mood swings. Intense feelings, such as sadness, anger, anxiety and loneliness.
- A tendency to talk about the traumatic experience often and/or at random or inappropriate times.
- Difficulty sleeping, focusing and/or remembering things.
- Loss of interest in friends, family, hobbies, school and life in general.
- An increased desire for independence, often to the point of self-absorption.
- A pessimistic outlook on life, a cynical and distrusting view of people and the world.
What You Can Do to Help
If you believe your teenager is experiencing trauma, it is recommended that you seek help from a licensed professional. However, there are plenty of things that you can do to help your child cope with trauma and continue to live a healthy and productive life, including:
- Love, support and trust them, even when things are difficult.
- Remember that your teen is still the same person, even if they are acting differently, they are just coping with trauma in the best way they know how.
- Spend time with them, making an effort to encourage them to communicate. If they do communicate, listen well with the intent to understand, not to judge or give advice.
- Make an effort to help them feel included in their family, community and friend groups. Continue inviting them to things and communicating with them about what and how the people they care about are doing.
When to Get Professional Help
If your teenager has experienced a potentially traumatic event and is showing signs of trauma, seeking help from a licensed professional is always recommended. Even if you or they do not think the trauma to be severe, discussing your concerns with a trauma expert can help you both to learn how best to cope with trauma and live a life unhindered by the negative effects trauma can bring. It is strongly recommended that you seek professional help if your teen demonstrates any of the following behaviors:
- Begins using or abusing narcotics, including drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
- Consistently acts differently than usual or does things that are completely out of character.
- Is unwilling to communicate about their life, including how they are feeling, what they are doing and where they are going.
- Engages in reckless, dangerous or harmful behavior.
Let Us Help
If your teen has experienced a traumatic event and is showing symptoms of trauma, call Trinity Teen for a free consultation. The licensed professionals and trauma experts at our Wyoming rehabilitation center can provide them with the knowledge, avice and coping skills they need to get a fresh start and deal with their trauma in healthy ways.