Every day, in different parts of the planet, many children experience dramatic, terrifying and sad situations derived from terrorist attacks. Attacks not only occur in distant countries, they can happen in your own city, therefore, we are going to briefly comment in this article on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (TPET), which is that suffered by children exposed to a life-threatening event for the child himself or a close relative. They are the psychological consequences in children who experience a terrorist attack.
Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder only related to terrorist attacks?
No. It can also appear in connection with sexual abuse, bullying, kidnapping, natural disasters, traffic accidents, serious illnesses.
Is post-traumatic stress disorder common in children?
PTSD is estimated to affect 1 - 4% of the general population. Focusing on the child population, and when the stressful stimulus is intense enough, it affects 100% of the children who experience it directly, regardless of other factors, such as the cultural level of the family, sex or ethnic group .
What are the clinical manifestations of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in children??
- Alertness and hyperarousal: attacks of rage, irritability, insomnia, lack of concentration, motor hyperactivity.
- Recurring nightmares in relation to the situation that caused the disorder.
- Flashbacks of the stressful event (memory of smells, sounds, shocking images).
- Attitude of "avoidance" of any thought, feeling or activity that reminds them of the painful event.
- Sadness, mood swings.
- Feeling of insecurity, seeking protection.
- Somatic complaints: abdominal pain, headache.
What other clinical conditions can PTSD in children be confused with?
With obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, simple phobia, and drug use. The triggering event will give us the key to the differential diagnosis.
How should the psychological consequences of children who experience a terrorist attack be addressed?
The management of these children must be carried out jointly by child psychologists, psychiatrists and educators. The measures to be adopted are:
- Pharmacological. There is little experience in this regard. Some studies have proposed the use of propranolol, clonidine, citalopram, carbamazepine and / or risperidone.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is the main aspect. It includes cognitive processing techniques of the traumatic event and relaxation training.
- Other techniques: supportive therapy, desensitization through eye movements. They are still in the experimental phase.
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