PTSD: Treatment

Many practitioners recommend a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. As some PTSD symptoms are often found in young people who don’t develop the full disorder, a careful evaluation is necessary before a clinician decides how to intervene.

Behavioral: PTSD therapy sessions aim to create a safe and supportive environment for a child. Psychotherapy that helps children speak, draw, play, or write about their trauma has been successful. In other cases, a clinician might recommend behavior modification techniques and cognitive therapy to teach a child to cope with his or her fear instead of addressing the trauma directly. Therapy sessions for children almost always involve a parent, a family member, or another caregiver.

Pharmacological: Medication may be prescribed to help alleviate fear and anxiety, starting with antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. If a child has persistent bad dreams, a medication used to treat hypertension called Prazosin has proven effective in curbing them.