It is not unusual for teen girls who have experienced a tragedy or trauma to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sadly, as of 2014, an estimated 3 to 15% of teen girls suffered from PTSD, primarily as the result of abuse. If your daughter is showing symptoms of PTSD, it is important to understand how you can help her. The following examines what can cause PTSD in teens, as well as how you can help your daughter:
Causes of PTSD in Teen Girls
PTSD can be triggered by any life threatening event or any event that endangers a teen physically. These may include:
- Abuse: This includes sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.
- Witnessing violence: This can include domestic or community violence, as well as war.
- Living through a violent crime including school shootings or kidnapping.
- Experiencing a natural disaster.
- Being involved in a serious accident.
How Can You Help Your Teen Cope With PTSD?
The most important thing you can do for a teen suffering from PTSD is to make certain they are in an environment that is free of danger and makes them feel safe. This includes providing a home environment that is structured and peaceful, as well as establishing a routine that helps them stay in the present. Without smothering your teen, monitor their moods and feelings, while reacting without judgment.
Therapy is one of the most important aspects of the healing process. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely considered to be the most effective form of therapy for teens experiencing PTSD. In a gentle manner, your teen will face the event in order to work through it and lessen the intensity of the memories, while exploring their feelings about it.
At the same time, be sure you are actively listening to your teen. Encourage your teen to discuss her feelings with you, if she feels comfortable. This is a crucial part of recovery.