Living with untreated trauma can be challenging and overwhelming. It can affect every aspect of your life, from your relationships to your physical and mental health. These effects can be even more profound in teens. If you’ve noticed behavioral changes in your child, they might be living with 1the effects of trauma.
What Is Trauma?
There are two primary types of mental trauma: complex and acute. Complex trauma occurs as a result of ongoing, repeated traumatic experiences, such as physical or emotional abuse, unintentional chronic stress, or neglect. On the other hand, acute trauma is caused by one-time events like natural disasters, accidents, or violent incidents.
Trauma can have different effects on individuals depending on their age and developmental stage. For teenagers specifically, untreated trauma can often manifest in behavioral changes such as aggression, withdrawal, or self-destructive behavior. These changes can also impact their relationships with family and friends, as well as their academic performance.
Impact of Untreated Trauma on the Brain
The teenage brain is still in the process of maturing, making it particularly vulnerable to the effects of trauma. When a teen experiences trauma, it can disrupt normal brain development and function. This impact on the brain can lead to cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes, such as difficulties in concentration, heightened emotional responses, and increased risk-taking behaviors.
Recognizing Signs of Untreated Trauma in Teens
Recognizing the signs of untreated trauma in your teen is the first step toward helping them heal. These signs may manifest as changes in their behavior, mood, or academic performance. Some common signs of untreated trauma in teens include:
- Behavioral changes such as aggression, violence, or self-harm
- Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends
- Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia or oversleeping
- Increased risk-taking behaviors like substance abuse or reckless driving
- Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks
- Changes in appetite or eating habits
- Mood swings and emotional outbursts
- Decline in academic performance
It is important to note that these signs may not always be indicative of untreated trauma, and it’s essential to seek professional help for a proper diagnosis.
Treating Trauma in Teens
Treatment for trauma in teenagers needs to be tailored to their specific needs. Evidence-based treatments like trauma-focused therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy can provide support in individual, group, and family settings. These therapeutic approaches are designed to help teens process their traumatic experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
Other methods include:
- Experiential therapy – Utilizing activities such as art, music, or outdoor experiences to help teens express and process their emotions
- Group support – Connecting with others who have experienced similar traumas can provide a sense of community and support for teens
- Psychiatric support – In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms related to trauma, such as depression or anxiety
Family support plays a crucial role in the healing process. Parents must take part in the healing process, understanding how they may have played a role in their child’s trauma and how to make changes and support them moving forward.
Call Family First for Help Now
We know that watching your teen struggle with the effects of untreated trauma can be difficult. At Family First, we provide adolescent trauma therapy to help your teen heal and thrive. Our team has more than 120 years of combined clinical experience and is dedicated to providing individualized care and support for teens and their families. Contact us online or call 888.904.5947 now to find the help your teen needs to heal from the past and become excited about the future.