Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder where a person suffers from a traumatizing event and struggles to move forward. After experiencing an extremely stressful event, many people will continue to have flashbacks and anxiety for a few weeks to months afterwards, but people who develop PTSD struggle for long time periods with recurring symptoms of the initial traumatic event. PTSD is treatable by medical professionals and can be resolved within months if the correct action is taken.

US Statistics On Teen PTSD

  • There are nearly 3 million reports of PTSD per year as reported by the DCP.
  • The incidents involved in those reports affect around 5.5 million kids.
  • 30% of those reports come from abuse.
  • 3-10 million kids experience or witness family violence.
  • Physical abuse occurs in 40-60% of these cases.
  • ⅔ of child abuse incidents go unreported.
  • 14-43% of boys and 15-43% of girls experience one traumatic event of more.
  • Of those kids, 1- 6% of boys and 3-15% of girls develop PTSD.

Causes Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is caused by many types of traumatic and stressful events. The sufferers of more severe cases may need extra time and help to heal. Here are some of the most common PTSD causes.

  • Serious road accidents
  • Violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
  • Sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
  • Witnessing violent deaths
  • Severe injury
  • Military combat
  • Being held hostage
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis
  • Diagnosis of a life-threatening condition
  • An unexpected severe injury or death of a loved one

Signs And Symptoms of PTSD Visible To Parents

It can be tough to watch your teen suffer with PTSD. To see them struggle and have little control, however, will be a good incentive for you to find them the help they need. If you notice several of these symptoms after a traumatic event, talk with your teen. Together, you can choose a comfortable course of action. Look for the behaviors below to see if your teen may be dealing with PTSD.

  • Trouble recalling details of a traumatic event
  • Recall details of a traumatic event out of order
  • Aggressive, impulsive, or reckless behavior
  • Flashbacks
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmare/night terrors
  • Low self-esteem
  • Avoiding memory-triggering situations
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Avoid physical contact
  • Poor school performance
  • Increased reactivity
  • Difficulty with trust
  • Uncommon sexual behaviors
  • Substance abuse
  • Self harming behavior

What PTSD Does Emotionally To Your Teen

PTSD interferes with the lives of anyone who experiences it. Teens have stressful and often times busy lives that require a lot of attention and focus. PTSD can get in the way of their drive and make simple things all of a sudden become more complicated. Here are some of the feelings they may experience while having PTSD.

  • They may feel recurring and intense feelings similar to when they first experienced the trauma
  • Not feeling safe
  • Fear, stress, or anxiety are triggered seemingly out of the blue
  • Feeling high alertness all the time
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of emotion
  • Fear of death
  • Intense guilt
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • Intense sadness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts


What Parents Can Do To Help Their Teen Struggling With PTSD

Loving and supporting your teen throughout their times of PTSD is the one of the most important things you can do. Knowing that they have someone to talk to when they need it is vital to the healing process. Talk to you kid openly about the traumatic event and help them understand that they are not responsible nor guilty for the actions of others. Get a professional to speak to them as well if they need it.

Talk with a professional yourself to see what the common symptoms are for the trauma they went through. If you know the signs and can watch for them, it will be easier to treat the PTSD and understand what your teen is going through.

Try to engage in uplifting and positive activities to get their mind away from the stresses they constantly feel. Play a sport with them or take them to a social event. Get them talking with others and involved in projects.

Remember to be an active listener and do not rush the healing process. It will take time.

How Teens Can Help Themselves

It is entirely possible for a teen with PTSD to help themselves through the healing process. Things like exercising everyday and continuing to be social can be huge helps in the daily fight against PTSD. Talk to a therapist or a professional to see what your teen can do to help themselves stay calm and happy throughout the day. Here are a few ideas.

  • Try to calm anxiety with breathing techniques.
  • Keep the same routine they had before the event happened - getting back into their normal routine.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and other stimulants.
  • Exercise daily to help focus the mind on a particular activity and release endorphins.
  • Help to calm the fear of things associated with the event, such as driving in a car after an accident.
  • Do not allow them to isolate themselves.
  • Realize the healing process may take a while, and be okay with taking it one step at a time.


Liahona Academy is a residential treatment center for troubled boys who suffer with behavioral, emotional, or mental health issues. We remove them from their harsh environment full of struggle and triggers, placing them in a safe, secure place supervised by professionals and therapeutic healing. We give them our full support by offering individual and group therapy sessions, helping them increase their self confidence and relationships with their families.

It can be hard for a teen with PTSD to heal in the environment they have always been in, so we give them a chance to experience a new place where their mind can change in a way that has not been done before. While helping them through therapy, we also have them participate in art, music, sports, and other types of recreation that keep them creatively fulfilled and challenged. There is hope for every teen to succeed, and by enrolling them in residential therapy instead of short-term treatment, they have an immersive environment helping them succeed every step of the way.