Understanding Trauma in Teens

 In Mental Health

Trauma is a serious mental health issue affecting teens in the United States. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 5% of teens aged 13-18 will develop a trauma-related mental illness in their lifetime. There are many causes of trauma, and if left unchecked it can severely impact a teenager’s physical and mental health well into adulthood. Worse yet, it can destroy friendships and families to the point of being unrepairable.

If your teen is struggling with the effects of trauma, you must find teen trauma treatment to help them cope and heal. Adolescent Wellness Academy is a top-tier adolescent trauma treatment program with evidence-based programs and support to help your teen rise above trauma. Call us today and help your teen find hope and happiness.

Understanding Trauma

In simple terms, trauma is defined as a lasting and powerful emotional response resulting from experiencing a stressful event. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network lists the following causes and the most common experiences that make teens vulnerable to developing trauma include the following:

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse1
  • Neglect (failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, medical, educational, and
  • emotional needs)
  • Interpersonal violence or victimization (e.g., assault, rape)
  • Community violence (e.g., gang violence, riots, school shootings)
  • Natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, floods, tornadoes)
  • Terrorism
  • Traumatic loss or grief (e.g., murder of a parent or sibling, death of a parent in
  • battle)
  • Medical trauma (e.g., severe injury, life-threatening illness)
  • Accidents

The impact of traumatic events on teens depends on the magnitude of the situation and how the teen responds to that situation. In many cases, the brunt of emotions associated with traumatic events dissipates over time with family support and the use of healthy coping skills. Some teens are unable to move past what they experience, and they get stuck. In these cases, trauma can manifest into deeper mental illness and substance abuse.

What Are the Signs of Trauma in Teens?

Like many mental illnesses, the signs of trauma can be hard to detect. Since trauma is linked to particular people, places, and events, teens dealing with trauma often isolate themselves from others. The following are common signs of trauma:

  • Repetitive thoughts about the event
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks – re-experiencing thoughts and feelings from the event when reminded of it
  • Efforts to avoid anything that reminds your child of the event
  • Irritable behavior and angry outbursts
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Problems concentrating
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of shame or guilt
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Depression
  • Emotional numbing

If your teen exhibits any of these symptoms, you must find evidence-based trauma treatment for teens.

Components of Teen Trauma Treatment

When looking for a teen trauma treatment program, you need to find a rehab that features evidence-based programs that are proven effective. Therapy is at the core of all trauma treatment for teens. Common therapies used in treating trauma for adolescents include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). These therapies can be conducted one-on-one and in groups. These therapies are also very beneficial when done with the entire family.

Teen trauma treatment also features the learning of healthy coping skills. Learning proper communication and interpersonal skills helps build confidence and helps teens find a voice in what they feel on the inside. These programs may also include the use of medications to help teens better regulate and manage their emotions. It is important to note that medications will only be utilized if experienced treatment personnel see a real need.

Since teens have busy school, family, and social lives, trauma therapy is administered in an outpatient setting that fits their schedule.

Adolescent Wellness Academy Can Help Your Teen Overcome Trauma

Trauma can affect any teen from any walk of life. If your son or daughter experienced trauma they can’t shake, they will not simply “grow out of it.” Trauma causes significant physical and mental health issues that must be addressed with proper care. As one of South Florida’s top-tier teen trauma facilities, Adolescent Wellness Academy provides specially designed clinical programs that address the underlying causes of trauma in teens head-on.

Our after-school program will provide teens with a safe and supportive space to deal with trauma, and we will give teens the tools they need to completely transform their lives. Call Adolescent Wellness Academy toll-free today and help your teenager break free from trauma.

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