Adolescent Cognitive Development After Trauma

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Adolescent Cognitive Development After Trauma Raquel A. Figueroa Liberty University COUN 620-B02 Abstract In a generation of hopelessness, adolescents seek a purpose for their existence. They seek refugee from violence, abuse and maltreatment. The overwhelming pressure opens the door for instant gratification in drugs, alcohol, sexual activity, and fail to make appropriate adjustments in compromising circumstances. There is a correlation between traumatic experiences and adolescent cognitive development. A traumatic experience can alter an adolescent’s neural system and adversely affect the latter stages of brain development. Working with survivors of traumatic events requires an understanding of maladaptive…show more content…
10) has detrimental consequences on adolescent development. Research shows chronic or complex trauma will take longer to recuperate from than an acute experience. According to Malchiodi (2009), “The Complex Trauma Taskforce of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) undertook a significant step in identifying and resolving the problems associated with diagnosing complex trauma in children” (p. 1). Adolescents diagnosed with complex trauma are more likely to engage in “maladaptive attempts at self-soothing” (van der Kolk & Pynoos, 2009, p. 11) that is expressed in high-risk behavior, chemical or substance dependency or aggressiveness toward others. Adolescents exposed to a traumatic event are predisposed to high-risk behaviors that range from “serious mental and physical health problems” (Bright, 2008, p. 18). Substance and chemical dependency, sexual activity, severe despondency, and suicide are just a few examples of maladaptive coping skills adolescents discover as a means of managing overwhelming emotions (Bright, 2008). Evidence suggests adolescents who think about how the trauma could have been prevented may suffer from extreme guilt. Untreated maladaptive behavior can become lethal toward others or themself. Adolescents face a conundrum of developmental challenges as they navigate through traumatic experiences and make positive use of healthy coping skills. Self-awareness and self-regulation are two important skills
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