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PTSD in Children 

PTSD in Children
PTSD in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Zelde Espinel

, and Jon A. Shaw


This chapter reviews the psychobiological effects on children and adolescents upon exposure to a traumatic happening where there is a real or imaginary threat of bodily harm or death to the self and/or others. Morbidity may involve the classic symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder such as a readiness to re-experience the psychological and physiological effects of trauma exposure, autonomic arousal, somatic ills and subsequent avoidant behavior as well as a host of other psychological morbidities such as depression, mood dysregulation and other internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Multimodal treatment approaches implementing family and social supports, psychoeducation, and cognitive behavioral techniques have the strongest evidence base. Psychopharmacologic interventions are not generally used, but may be necessary as an adjunct to other interventions for children with severe reactions or coexisting psychiatric conditions.

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