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What Are the Signs of Trauma in Teens?

young woman displaying the signs of trauma in teens

Traumatic events can take a toll on anyone, but young people can be especially vulnerable. Sometimes, trauma from childhood can emerge during adolescence. How can you tell if your teen is reacting to trauma? Does your teenager need help to process a traumatic event? You may have many questions about recognizing the signs of trauma in teens or what to do if you think your teen might be struggling with the aftereffects of a traumatic event. Reach out to Imagine by Northpoint at 888.597.2807 to learn more about teen and adolescent trauma therapy in Boise and the surrounding area.

What Are the Symptoms of Trauma in Teens?

The symptoms of trauma can be dramatic, but they can also be subtle at times. Parents and loved ones must learn to notice the signs of trauma in their teenagers. Some of the common symptoms of trauma in teens are:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Difficulties in school or failing grades
  • Disinterest in hobbies and activities they used to enjoy
  • Poor self-care or bad hygiene
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Drug use or drinking alcohol
  • Dramatic changes in appearance and friend group
  • Problems sleeping, either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Exaggerated startle reflex, being jumpy or easily scared
  • Expressing feelings of worthlessness or poor self-worth
  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm

What Should You Do If Your Teen Needs Help to Deal With Trauma?

The first and most important thing to do as a parent or loved one of a teenager dealing with trauma is to offer them support and love. Teens struggling with the effects of trauma might seem to reject that love and support, but they need it more than ever. At the same time, people dealing with the aftereffects of trauma often need some space and time to process their thoughts and figure out how they feel, so make sure to respect that as much as possible.

It can also be helpful to consult a counselor who specializes in teen and adolescent trauma therapy. Often, they can help you decide how best to help your young person. You can also reach out to a trauma-centered therapy program for adolescents in your area.

What Is Trauma-Centered Therapy and How Does It Work?

When a person experiences trauma, changes occur in the body and brain that are supposed to help someone fight or flee danger. These normal responses can, in a way, get stuck when someone has gone through a traumatic experience. Trauma-centered therapy has the primary goal of helping the patient re-establish a feeling of safety so that they can gently bring the body and brain back into a normal state rather than a heightened “fight-or-flight” state. Other aspects of trauma-centered therapy include helping the patient express and process traumatic events along with their emotions and thoughts about those events. Generally, trauma-centered therapy is meant to help patients work through their feelings and help them express themselves so that they can regain a healthy sense of themselves. Even though it may seem like the therapist and patient are just talking to one another, studies have shown that talk therapy can make positive changes in the way the brain reacts to memories of threatening or traumatic events.

Imagine by Northpoint Can Help Teens Recover From Trauma Near Boise, Idaho

If your teenager is struggling to deal with the effects of trauma, reach out to our caring and knowledgeable staff today at 888.597.2807. We are committed to helping our patients and their families heal from trauma and achieve a healthier future. Our treatment center offers a variety of mental and behavioral health programs for adolescents ages 12-17. Contact us today and let us tell you how we can help.