Emotional Trauma and the Adolescent Brain Essay example

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There are many types of trauma that can effect an adolescent and without the proper treatment of the traumatic event the adolescent can have difficulty adapting and developing into adulthood. Kathleen J. Moroz, of the Vermont Agency of Human Services, defines trauma as a physical or psychological threat or assault to a child’s physical integrity, sense of self, safety of survival or to the physical safety of another person significant to the child. She goes on to list the types of trauma a child may be exposed to. Abuse of every kind, domestic violence, natural disasters, abandonment, serious illness or an accident are just a few traumatic events that can effect the development of a child. (2) When these events occur as an acute event…show more content…
PTSD may be accompanied by other types of mild cognitive impairment, such as relatively impoverished autobiographic memory for positive events, as well as problems with attention, working memory, and the learning of novel word associations, suggesting the disruption of neural mechanisms affecting specific brain circuits. PTSD is a form of dissociation and involves two distinct parts that effect the consciousness and behavior of an adolescent. “One is numb and avoidant of traumatic memories, but more or less functional in daily life, and another is enmeshed in traumatic memories” (Diseth 83). These elements of dissociation cause attachment and adaptive disorders that will perpetrate further harm to the adolescent. Trauma is related to other behaviors in adolescents, such s numbing, social withdrawal, separation anxiety and new fears. There are four elements that an adolescent will react to in a crisis situation. First, the emotional responses involve anger, shock, grief, a sense of helplessness, loss of pleasure in everyday activities, terror, guilt and even phobias. These emotional responses then result in cognitive distortions such as impaired decision making, lowered self-esteem, worry, memory impairment and nightmares. The physical effects of the emotional and cognitive changes can also be a detriment of the adolescents health due to having
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