A Swedish medical research study has shown that approximately 30% of children that are involved in an accident, develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The condition is a well-described psychological disorder that leaves victims with a range of symptoms that can even become debilitating. Signs and symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating or getting along with others, mood swings, and recurrent thoughts of accidents. Some people develop difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, sweating and phobias of places that resemble the scene of the accident. The diagnosis of the psychological injury usually comes from a psychologist or psychiatrist but can also be made by an astute family doctor, neurologist or trauma specialist. Doctors say that medications and intense therapy are often necessary to treat more severe cases of the disorder. However, specialists say that even more mild cases should be diagnosed and treated appropriately in order to avoid worsening of the condition. PTSD can certainly present differently in children compared to adults. The condition is also not necessarily associated with physical accident injuries. Therefore, experts note that a medical or psychological professional should examine children that were involved in an accident to screen for the condition even if the victim did not suffer outwardly visible physical injury. Trauma specialists explain that events that may cause PTSD can include a car crash, bicycle accident, pedestrian injury, drowning or even a slip and fall accident. They further note that child accident victims may interpret even minor accidents differently than an adult. That may explain the reason for the high incidence of the psychiatric injury in children. See this informative article about post-traumatic stress disorder for more details about the condition.
Illustrative photo by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael C. Barton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons