March 10, 2022

What You Need To Know About Teenage Trauma

Teenage trauma is currently prevalent in American society. A recent study indicated that 65% of the surveyed teens had experienced at least one traumatic event. And, for parents and caregivers, the effects of teen trauma are shocking to experience. You want to protect your children and ensure their happiness and safety. No parent wants to see their child suffer. If your teen has been suffering trauma in the past, we’re here to help.

What Causes Traumatic Stress In Adolescents?

When we talk about teenage traumatic stress, we’re referring to a combined emotional and physical response to an event that has caused your teen to feel overwhelmingly terrorized, horrified, and helpless. This might trigger several physiological reactions in the teen, including nausea, dry mouth, heart palpitations, incontinence, and dizziness.

Events that might cause teen trauma include:

  • Neglect
  • Abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional)
  • Traumatic loss or grief (e.g., the death of a sibling or parent)
  • Accidents
  • Enduring a medical trauma
  • Experiencing a natural disaster
  • Terrorism
  • Interpersonal victimization or violence like assault and rape

However, some distressing events don’t result in traumatic stress, because some teens cope differently with events.

Types Of Trauma Your Teens Might Experience

Trauma is divided into two distinct categories: chronic and acute.

  • Chronic trauma happens when your teen is a victim or a witness to ongoing, painful experiences and repeated assaults. Teens experiencing persistent traumatic events are likely to turn to alcohol or drugs to calm anxiousness and negative thoughts. Ongoing emotional or physical abuse, domestic violence, bullying, and instabilities at home are examples of chronic trauma. Witnessing a loved one being molested, like a sibling or parent in a domestic violence situation, is an example of chronic trauma, too. 
  • Acute trauma is a situation that typically occurs quickly and at one time and leaves a lasting impact. Experiencing a personal injury from a car accident, witnessing an assault or injury, and being sexually assaulted or threatened causes acute trauma.

Signs Of Trauma In Teenagers

Teens react differently to trauma. There’re many ways they experience sorrowful reactions to a traumatic event. A reaction might become unhealthy if the mood or behavior is prolonged and affect your teen’s lifestyle. Some of the signs of psychological and emotional trauma include:

  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares or insomnia
  • Muscle tension
  • Pains and aches
  • Feeling hopeless or sad
  • Social withdrawal
  • Shame and guilt
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Declining academic performance, and difficulty concentrating
  • Denial or shock

PTSD In Teens

Painful, extreme, and frightening events create natural physiological reactions to self-preservation. This is characterized by heightened emotional and physical responses, ranging from feelings of intense fear to a rapid heart rate. Also, unresolved trauma can progress into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The body might naturally work through such responses and resume normality in some situations. But, sometimes, the body and mind might continue to react as if the events are repeatedly occurring in response to the trigger or sometimes with no detectable external trigger.

Seeking Help For Teen PTSD and Trauma

At Teensavers, we understand that trauma in the teenage years should be treated immediately and effectively. So, we conduct a comprehensive assessment to diagnose PTSD and other co-occurring disorders. Therapy produces the most significant outcomes in trauma treatment.

Therapists use various modalities in the healing process. Teens react differently to traumatic events, so therapies are unique, too. The most popular and useful modalities in the treatment of teen trauma and PTSD include;

  • Experimental therapies like art therapy, adventure therapy, music therapy, and Equine-Assisted Therapy allow transformation and growth through hands-on, real-life experiences that build self-confidence and trust.
  • Somatic body therapy helps teenagers to release trauma and bring the nervous system to balance.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy teaches various skills that allow your teen to become self-aware and effectively manage difficult emotions and feelings.
  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy identifies the thought process related to trauma and helps teens reframe their experience.

Meet Our Team

If something seems out of character, it might be the time to get them assisted. Teensavers is available to help with any questions you might have. Our programs treat substance abuse, teen PTSD, trauma, and other underlying mental health issues. If you’re unsure of what to do about your traumatized teen, give us a call anytime at 714-288-9779.


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