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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur in children who experience a traumatic event, such as a threat to life, serious injury, or abuse. Sometimes, PTSD can occur in children who hear about trauma that happened to a close family member or friend.
It is normal for a child to show signs of stress after exposure to trauma. If symptoms last for more than a month, your child may have PTSD. For most children, symptoms improve over time. However, some children may continue to have symptoms for years if they do not get treatment.
This condition may develop when a child experiences a traumatic event.
In children aged 6 or younger
In children older than age 6
PTSD is diagnosed through an assessment by a mental health professional. You or your child may be asked to describe the experience of the traumatic event. You may be asked to provide your observations about any noticeable changes in your child's behavior.
Some children with PTSD may benefit from a combination of these treatments.
Support your child
Manage stress and anxiety
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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