LightHouse Counseling Services

...focusing on the special needs of adoptive families

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Signs of PTSD

Have you been told by well meaning friends, “All children do that?” It’s true, all children exhibit some of these behaviors some of the time to a lesser degree. Children with PTSD are “over the top.” They exhibit these behaviors to the extreme. If you have a gut feeling that something is not quite right with your child, listen to it. You know your child better than anyone. These children are often misdiagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHD and other learning disabilities, Bipolar Disorder, Oppositional Disorder, etc. by well meaning professionals that are not familiar with the issues of these children. If medications and treatment recommended does not help, consider that your child has PTSD and seek appropriate treatment by a counselor that treats children with these issues. This is not something your child will “outgrow,” but instead tends to get worse over time and as the child reaches new developmental milestones may be triggered. If not dealt with in childhood, adults exhibit inability to establish good relationships, poor choices in relationships, self-destructive patterns, addictions, lack of conscience, sociopathic behaviors, clingy, attention-seeking behaviors, narcissistic behaviors, depression, feelings of isolation and “not fitting in anywhere.”

Common childhood signs include: 

  • Child has extreme need to be in control
  • Frequent arguing
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Eating disturbances (hoarding food, using food for control)
  • Hyper vigilance/ Hyper arousal
  • Incessant chatter 
  • Easily startled or scared of loud or sudden noises (loud toilets in restrooms, fire-alarms, etc.)
  • Always victim – always assessing fairness
  • Always “right”
  • “Busy-body Syndrome” – have to know what is going on at all times
  • Lying – even when it makes more sense to tell the truth
  • View world as “me against everyone else”
  • When they have fallen asleep they have feeling of vulnerability – perceived loss of control
  • Self-destructive
  • Self deprecating
  • Reasoning skewed – lack of cause and effect reasoning – don’t learn from consequences
  • Triangulation – playing one parent or adult against the other
  • Lack of internal control
  • Self-Stimulation –Chewing, Pica, etc.
  • Wake up ready for battle
  • Arrested emotional development
  • Extreme anger, rages (tantrums that go on and on, are violent, child is inconsolable)