- What is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD?
- Who gets PTSD?
- What are the symptoms of PTSD?
- Do children react differently than adults?
- How is PTSD detected?
- Why do some people get PTSD and other people do not?
- How is PTSD treated?
- Other medications
- Treatment after mass trauma
- What efforts are under way to improve the detection and treatment of PTSD?
- How can I help a friend or relative who has PTSD?
- How can I help myself?
- Where can I go for help?
- What if I or someone I know is in crisis?
- For more information on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Do children react differently than adults?
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as adults.1 In very young children, these symptoms can include:
- Bedwetting, when they’d learned how to use the toilet before
- Forgetting how or being unable to talk
- Acting out the scary event during playtime
- Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.
Older children and teens usually show symptoms more like those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge. For more information, see the NIMH booklets on helping children cope with violence and disasters.