The Stressed Child

            The stress disorder patient has suffered through or been exposed to an identifiable stressful event involving actual or threatened death or serious injury to oneself or another.  Acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder share many symptoms, but acute stress disorder is relatively short term, lasting a month or two after the stressful event. Post traumatic stress disorder can be chronic and onset may be delayed.

            In a stress disorder, the traumatic event is re-experienced through recurrent images, thoughts, dreams or flashbacks.  Everyday events and objects may bring back the event.

            Acute stress disorder – the short term anxiety – also is typified by a desire to avoid reliving the trauma.  Numbing detachment, absence of emotional responsiveness, depersonalization and disassociation from the event may occur, though these symptoms are not successful at eliminating recurring thoughts of the event.  The disturbance causes significant distress or impairment in the school or social environment.  The patient – especially children – probably will have difficulty talking about the event and may be unwilling to participate in treating the anxiety.

            Post-traumatic stress disorder is all about intense psychological distress which results in a diminished interest in life.  The patient may feel estranged from loved ones, drop hobbies and interests that previously were engaging and have little or no belief in a future.  Sleeplessness, irritability and difficulty concentrating also are symptoms.  Obviously, these symptoms share characteristics with depression.  Brutal events often cause depression.  In the view of this website, there may be little reason to distinguish post-traumatic stress disorder resulting in loss of interest in life and event-induced depression (as opposed to depression that arises with no evident connection to a traumatic event).

DISCLAIMER:  Unless otherwise indicated, all commentary and information on this web site is provided by persons who have no formal training in medicine or mental health.  You should weigh the information and comment on this site in consultation with a mental health professional.