A Demon Named PTSD
By Ingrid Higgins, MFT

I have a demon; her name is PTSD.   
She is very strong and has the power to make me remember 
all of the things people have done to hurt me in the past.  
PTSD can create, in an instant, the same feelings of those past hurts 
and the same physical sensations.  
When she comes, it is very hard to be close to others. 
PTSD reminds me of how bad people have been in the past 
and why I should not trust anyone. 
She keeps me safe, so that no one can hurt me again.  

Symptoms of PTSD in adolescents may include:

  • Over reacting to something that seems small to others
  • Fighting with people, not knowing why they are upset
  • Avoiding people or places
  • Flashbacks, zoning out or checking out
  • Poor concentration, gaps in memory
  • Nightmares, and other troubles sleeping
  • Angry outbursts, a generally irritable mood
  • Anxiety, excessive guilt or shame
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Self-destructive behavior, negative beliefs about oneself
  • Not trusting others or being suspicious, startling easily
  • Behavior problems at school, grades dropping 

PTSD can go unrecognized in adolescents because of the belief that it is caused by a huge traumatic event such as fighting in a war, or being in a tornado, or being held at gunpoint.  In adolescents, the traumatic event might not be as easy to recognize.  Bullying that might not seem that bad to others often traumatizes adolescents.  Undisclosed abuse can also lead to PTSD.  

Treatment options are available.  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is very effective with children, teens and adults.  Research has proved its efficacy.  As a certified EMDR therapist, I have seen the results in my practice and believe that doing this work in adolescence can prevent suffering later in life. There is a cure for PTSD. The first step is to ask for help.

If you or someone you know is suffering, please reach out to me at (408) 579 – 9806 or through the contact form on this site