Curbing stress symptoms may reduce risk of chronic PTSD, suggests study

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that develops after an individual is exposed to a traumatic or life-threatening event and often includes symptoms such as panic attacks and flashbacks. While the condition is commonly known to affect soldiers and war veterans, it can also affect civilians, including teenagers and adolescents.

An effective treatment for PTSD usually involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Now, a new study published recently in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has suggested another effective way to minimize the risk of developing chronic PTSD. According to the study, curbing the development of acute stress symptoms can help avoid chronic PTSD in individuals.

For the study, researchers analyzed data collected from 171 individuals who had survived any form of assault during their lifetime. This included a self-assessment report completed by the participants with acute symptoms, which they developed two weeks and 6 months after the traumatic event. Along with this, the participants were also subjected to a structured clinical interview to assess PTSD diagnosis six months after the event.

The researchers found that repetitive or upsetting recollections were stronger predictors of developing PTSD as compared to symptoms with low strength, such as loss of memory. The symptoms that had high criticality within the acute stress network and were specified as recurring or upsetting recollections by previous findings were found by the researchers as stronger predictors of subsequent PTSD. This, in turn, revealed the importance of early intervention to curb the risk of PTSD.

“To accelerate recovery after traumatic events and prevent (PTSD) it is critical to understand the dynamic interplay of acute stress symptoms and how they develop over time into chronic PTSD,” the authors noted. The researchers also emphasized the importance of using secondary prevention efforts during the initial weeks of experiencing trauma in order to prevent the risk of developing chronic PTSD.

PTSD among teens

PTSD among adolescents reduces their ability to cope with daily life activities and also make them feel hopeless. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 4 percent people in the age group of 13 to 18 years have a lifetime prevalence of PTSD.

While many teens could face a traumatic situation some or the other time in their life, it is not necessary that each of them will develop PTSD. Offering proper care and love can help them cope with the risk of developing the condition.

Seeking treatment

A number of teens are exposed to traumatic events, such as physical assault, sexual abuse, mental abuse or natural disasters at school or in personal lives. This, in turn, increases the risk of PTSD in adolescents. Therefore, it is important for parents and guardians to take certain preventive measures and avoid the risk of developing PTSD symptoms in teens. 

If a child develops PTSD, it is better to seek help from a mental health expert in your vicinity. White River Academy (WRA) is one of the leading therapeutic boarding schools that aims to provide the required help to teen boys to recover from their mental illnesses, such as PTSD, as well as substance abuse. The school has state-of-the-art facilities and follows a holistic approach in providing help to troubled youth to recover.

If you know someone who is dealing with PTSD or some other form of mental illness, contact our 24/7 helpline to know about the best treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder available in your vicinity. You can also chat online with one of our medical experts to seek more information about the signs of PTSD in teenagers and how to recover from the same.

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