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Stress You Can’t Address

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't affect wartime veterans only-it's a serious problem for children who've experienced trauma. Children can develop PTSD when they've experienced serious, acute trauma or when they've been in a chronic stressful situation. 
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes symptoms of PTSD in kids:

  • Persistent re-experiencing of the trauma (memories and flashbacks of the trauma and recurring trauma-related nightmares) 
  • Seeking to avoid traumatic reminders (including places, people, and conversations)
  • A general numbing of emotional responsiveness 
  • Chronic physiological "hyperarousal," including sleep disturbances, poor concentration, and being over-sensitive to threats
  • Actively re-experiencing trauma through repetitive play imitating the trauma 
Children are unable to effectively manage this type of stress by themselves, and it's important that if you note these symptoms for a period longer than a month, to connect with parents and your ministry leader to help seek professional support and intervention.
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