How Many Adolescents Have PTSD?
Adolescence is a time of tremendous change and tumult. As body and brain growth accelerates, teens face increasing peer, academic, and family pressures. These changes are often overwhelming, and many teens feel like they are pulled in a million directions. For some young people, the stress of the teenage years can be too much to bear. As a result, many teens experience the onset of mental illness such as PTSD.
This article will reveal how many adolescents have PTSD and its causes. You will also learn more about PTSD itself and where you can find teen PTSD treatment that can help your teen live a healthy and happy life. If you are looking for adolescent PTSD treatment in Florida, call AWA toll-free today. We offer evidence-based teen PTSD treatment specifically for the unique needs of young people.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder where people experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Commonly associated with military personnel experiencing long deployments, war and other events, PTSD affects people of all ages, including teens. PTSD is adolescence is marked by three major symptoms:
- Re-experiencing symptoms—reliving the traumatic event or events in the form of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.
- Avoidance—people affected with PTSD will avoid the people, places, and things connected to the traumatic event.
- Arousal symptoms—the constant feeling of unease and always being on alert. People with PTSD will experience a “flight or fight” response if there are things in the environment they perceive as threatening.
How Many Adolescents Have PTSD?
If you are a parent of a teen who may have PTSD, the first question you may ask is how many adolescents have PTSD? According to figures provided by the U.S. Department for Veteran Affairs:
“Studies show that about 15% to 43% of girls and 14% to 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD.”
Additional information provided by the NIH shows that the prevalence of PTSD among adolescents was higher for females (8.0%) than for males (2.3%). It is important to note that PTSD and anxiety disorders in teens is often underreported. As a result, the percentages of teens with PTSD may be much higher than what is reported.
What Can Cause PTSD in Adolescents?
As stated earlier, PTSD in teens occurs when they experience or witness a traumatic event or events. Examples of traumatic events that can lead to the onset of PTSD can include the following:
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- School shootings
- Living after a major accident
- Surviving a natural disaster
- Witnessing or being the victim of violence
- Car crashes
- Dealing with the sudden death of a loved one
Several risk factors make teens more vulnerable to developing post-traumatic stress disorder. In general, the type of traumatic event and the amount of exposure to that event increases the risk of PTSD in adolescents. Another major risk factor is parental support during and after the event. Those children whose parents provide little support or neglect after the event are more likely to develop PTSD.
Other risk factors include:
- Presence of pre-existing mental health issues
- Low social support
- Exposure to other traumatic events
- Lack of coping skills
- Feelings of hopelessness, fear, and horror
It is important to note that these risk factors do not mean adolescents will develop PTSD. If teens don’t receive help from an adolescent PTSD treatment program, this anxiety disorder will hinder their mental and emotional development and may lead to substance abuse or developing other mental illnesses as they age.
How to Find Teen PTSD Treatment in Florida
If your teen son or daughter is experiencing PTSD, you need to find professional help as soon as possible. While finding treatment is a top priority, you must do your due diligence in researching the right treatment program for your teen. It is very important that you find an evidence-based program designed specifically for teenagers’ unique needs. Additionally, the right facility offers individual and family counseling, clinical support, and programs that help teens build healthy coping skills, self-esteem, and better ways to communicate what they think and feel.
AWA is an adolescent treatment program in Davie, Florida. Contact us today to learn more.