• Identifying PTSD Risk in Children after an Accident


    My kids were five and seven the day we were rear-ended on a busy street.

    Although I didn’t connect the symptoms to the accident at the time, my children both showed signs of PTSD for months afterwards.

    I wish I’d known more about trauma at the time.

    One in ten children will continue to suffer from symptoms of PTSD a year after an accident.

    Symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, bedwetting, hyper-vigilance, and sleeping disorders, among other symptoms. Children who are treated within three months have the best prognosis for recovery.

    According to  recent article in redOrbit, researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Children’s Hospital Zurich have devised and evaluated a systematic questionnaire that can be used to identify pre-school children with an increased risk of long-term post-traumatic disorders within a few days of an accident. For the first time, it’s now possible for first responders such as pediatricians, nursing staff or emergency psychologists to assess small children accurately with regard to their risk of illness.

    “Children with an increased risk can thus be identified early and referred to an emergency psychologist for treatment,” explains Professor Markus Landolt.

    Early trauma assessment prevents an acute stress response from developing into chronic mental illness that causes the child to suffer and spells a lengthy and expensive course of treatment.

    Markus Landolt is now planning an app for Smartphones in collaboration with IT scientists.

    “This app will enable the screening to be conducted even more easily and quickly, and above all implemented broadly.”

    If you know a child who was involved in an automobile accident, consider having them assessed by a mental health professional. Receiving treatment within the first three months can help change their life.

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