Q:

What treatments are available for children with PTSD?

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Quick Answer

Doctors treat children with post-traumatic stress disorder with any combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, relaxation therapy and medication, according to Drugs.com. Children who are too young to participate in other types of therapy may benefit from play therapy, notes the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

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Full Answer

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective therapy to treat PTSD in children, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. This type of therapy encourages the child to talk about past traumatic experiences, to learn how to control feelings of anxiety and to correct misconceptions about the world created by trauma.

Using eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, which is a mixture of cognitive therapy and eye movements, to treat children may have limited effectiveness, notes the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. Research suggests that the children only respond to the cognitive therapy component and not the eye movements.

Doctors can also prescribe antianxiety medication, antidepressants or sedatives to children with PTSD, explains Drugs.com. Antidepressants can help a child who feels sad but can also improve behavioral problems. Children who have difficulty sleeping may benefit from sedatives to get needed rest.

Some children with PTSD develop problems with substance abuse, developmentally inappropriate sexual behavior or extreme behavioral problems, notes the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. In these cases, doctors may recommend a specialized intervention.

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