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PTSD in Children 6 Years and Younger 

PTSD in Children 6 Years and Younger
Chapter:
PTSD in Children 6 Years and Younger
Author(s):

Alexandra C. De Young

, and Michael S. Scheeringa

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190457136.003.0008
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date: 28 January 2022

This chapter is an overview of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth edition; DSM-5) subtype “posttraumatic stress disorder for children 6 years and younger” and what is known about posttraumatic stress disorder during early childhood. It outlines issues that complicate the accurate assessment of trauma-related problems in young children and reviews the new DSM-5 category, instruments currently available, and evidence for different treatment options. Young children are a high-risk population for exposure to traumatic events and are likewise at risk of developing trauma- and stressor-related disorders following trauma exposure. Early childhood is associated with unique vulnerabilities that may put young children at risk of poor outcomes and rapid maturational growth that may enhance resilience. Early and accurate assessment and treatment of posttrauma reactions in very young children can be challenging, but, because of these factors, it is critical.

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