Children can experience PTSD from a single traumatic event.  Complex trauma or Complex PTSD results from repeated exposure to such events.

Complex trauma or Complex PTSD in children occurs when a child witnesses or experiences multiple of ongoing traumatic events. In “simple” PTSD the level or severity of PTSD symptoms are often determined by the proximity of the child to the traumatic event, the severity of the event, and the reactions of those around them, particularly parents/caregivers.In Complex trauma or Complex PTSD the accumulation of stress can have a profound effect on the child’s brain development.

There are a number of signs that may indicate a child is suffering from PTSD. These can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Recurring nightmares
  • Flashbacks of the event
  • Difficulty dealing with thoughts and concept of happiness and love
  • Physical responses to anything related to the event
  • Angry outbursts
  • Avoidance of anything to do with the traumatic event
  • A general lack of interest or positivity
  • Apprehension and defensiveness
  • Irritability

For Complex PTSD each of these signs may be present, but the child may also struggle with sensory sensitivities, hyperarousal, learning, and emotional and behavioural regulation.

The key to treating children with PTSD or Complex PTSD is to first understand the cause. At Complex Trauma Resources, our goal is to provide you with enough information about complex trauma to give you a different perspective, and to provide you with practical and proven strategies that will help the child or children in your care to heal and grow.

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