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What Are the Effects of Adolescent Trauma?

sad looking boy leaning dejectedly against window and wondering what are the effects of adolescent trauma

Adolescent trauma can significantly impact a young person’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Trauma is defined as any event that overwhelms the individual’s ability to cope and can lead to long-term psychological consequences. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to trauma because their brains are still developing and can be easily damaged. The effects of adolescent trauma can be physical, mental, or emotional and most often require a professional adolescent trauma therapy program.

At Imagine Boise, we offer mental health treatment for teens and adolescents. We understand the effects of adolescent trauma and the role it plays in later development and mental health. If your child has experienced severe trauma or is struggling with their mental health, give us a call at 888.597.2807 to find out how we can help.

Trauma and Adolescent Brain Development

Adolescents and teens are, by definition, not adults and have not fully developed; this includes their brains and related cognition. Trauma during this stage of development can greatly impact the adolescent’s brain development, potentially causing long-term cognitive issues.

Signs of Trauma in Adolescence

Signs of trauma in adolescence may include a variety of physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral symptoms. These may include any of the following:

  • Frequent outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • Nightmares
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Self-harming behavior, such as cutting or burning oneself
  • Avoidance of specific people or places that remind them of the traumatic event(s)
  • Feelings of guilt and shame about what happened
  • Low self-esteem
  • Changes in academic performance

If you believe your child or an adolescent close to you is experiencing mental health difficulties related to trauma, reach out to a professional behavioral health treatment center like Imagine Boise.

Effects of Adolescent Trauma

Many adolescents who experience trauma may resort to unhealthy coping behaviors, which can have long-term consequences. These coping mechanisms can include drug use, self-harm, or other risky behaviors.

Trauma can also lead to social isolation, declining school performance, behavioral problems, and other adverse outcomes. Adolescents may struggle with symptoms of traumatic stress, such as:

  • Dissociation
  • Lack of empathy
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Difficulty describing internal feelings

In some cases, adolescents may develop diagnosable trauma-related mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If left untreated, the impact of adolescent trauma can extend into adulthood creating innumerable challenges and obstacles.

Benefits of Professional Trauma Therapy for Adolescents

The benefits of professional trauma therapy for adolescents can vary depending on the individual. The many possible benefits may include any or all of the following:

  • Improved self-esteem and self-confidence – Adolescents will learn how to cope with their trauma in a healthy way, and this can lead to improved self-esteem and confidence.
  • Increased sense of safety and security – Professional trauma therapy can help adolescents to process and express their emotions, leading to a greater sense of safety and security.
  • Awareness of triggers – Through therapy, adolescents will become more aware of their triggers and learn how to cope with them in a healthy way.
  • Improved communication skills – Adolescents will learn communication skills that can help them better express themselves and build relationships with others.
  • Improved understanding of emotions and behavior – Professional trauma therapy can help adolescents to better understand their emotions and behavior, leading to improved emotional regulation and self-control.

Without professional trauma therapy, adolescents may experience delayed development of various cognitive processes and coping mechanisms which can lead to difficulty in adulthood.

Common Therapeutic Approaches to Treating the Effects of Adolescent Trauma

At Imagine Boise, we use a combination of evidence-based therapies and holistic approaches to help adolescents work through their trauma and associated mental health issues. Some of the most common therapies we use include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – This therapy focuses on helping adolescents identify unhealthy beliefs and behaviors, then replace them with healthier alternatives.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – This type of therapy helps adolescents learn to regulate their emotions, reduce stress, and manage relationships.
  • Family therapy – This therapy helps families learn how to better communicate, resolve conflicts, and build a more robust support system.
  • Music therapy – This approach utilizes music to help adolescents express their feelings, gain insight into their emotional state, and improve their overall mental health.

Each patient receives a personalized treatment plan designed for their specific needs and goals.

Let Imagine Boise Help You Address the Effects of Adolescent Trauma

Adolescent trauma is a serious issue that needs to be addressed in order for teens and young adults to live healthy and happy lives. With the right kind of help and support, adolescents can learn to cope with their trauma in a healthy way and build a strong foundation for the future. Call Imagine Boise today at 888.597.2807 or reach out online to find out how we can help.