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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Effective for PTSD Treatment in Youth

A limited but interesting research study conducted by the University of East Anglia found that early interventions to PTSD with the use of cognitive behavioral therapy as treatment can have positive and lasting effects for young people. Many parents wait to provide treatment or therapy of any kind for post traumatic stress disorder until their young teen is demonstrating troubling symptoms. At that point, there is already reprogramming happening in the brain which can create long lasting problems. Early intervention can inhibit the development of troubling side effects and ongoing mental health struggles. For adolescents with post-traumatic stress disorder, the side effects could include anxiety, depression, hyperarousal, and a higher risk for the development of a substance abuse problem. The study found that the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, an evidence-based therapy method, significantly reduced depression and anxiety in addition to additional improvements in other outcomes. Cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder helps young people identify their thoughts and beliefs which are developing because of their trauma. Goal-oriented and solution-seeking, cognitive behavioral therapy can employ other therapeutic methods for treating PTSD, like safety seeking. Safety seeking is a separate method of therapy but is also a set of behaviors needed to regulate as well as cope with PTSD. Participants in the study who received treatment within 2 to 6 months after a traumatic incident have a greater recovery at 6 and 12 months after treatment. The study also found that young people who are diagnosed with PTSD within that six month window after trauma will need the treatment to help them cope with their PTSD. Other participants in the study had some recovery and improvement, but not compared to the young people who received treatment. Finding ways to cope with the side effects of trauma is a challenge for adults, which means it must be an extra challenge for young people. Substance abuse is a common side effect of trauma as young people find comfort in the euphoric effects of drugs and alcohol. Early interventions for both PTSD and substance abuse can ensure a long term recovery for a healthier, happier life.

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