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Helping Kids Battling Cancer Cope With PTSD

Children battling cancer often suffer from PTSD. PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.

Symptoms of PTSD fall into four categories and specific symptoms can vary in severity. The first category is intrusion. This happens when thoughts such as repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event.

The second category is avoidance. Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event may include avoiding people, places, activities, objects and situations that may trigger distressing memories. The third category is alterations in cognition and mood. Inability to remember important aspects of the traumatic event, negative thoughts and feelings leading to ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others. The last category is Alterations in arousal and reactivity. Arousal and reactive symptoms may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving recklessly or in a self-destructive way.

Many kids who are or have battled cancer can experience symptoms similar to those described above. Many children develop symptoms within three months of the diagnosis, but symptoms may appear later and often persist for months and sometimes years.

Below are seven ways to help your child through PTSD!

  1. Encourage therapy no matter how old your child gets! Therapy will help your kid work through their emotions.

  2. Plant therapy is always a positive thing to implement! Nurturing and watching something grow brings hope and happiness to any home!

  3. Animal therapy has been a recommendation for depression and anxiety. Animals have a way of building bonds that may bring comfort.

  4. Travel, travel, travel! Changing your child’s surroundings is a great way to get them out of a bad headspace. Making new memories in new places brings new hope.

  5. Plan activities! Cooking and baking demand your attention and give your child a focus point to take their mind away from their worries.

  6. Yoga is a great introduction into meditation. Starting kids early creates a healthy habit of meditation versus emotions building up.

  7. Get active! Exercise is known to be one of the biggest stress relievers.

Whether you try one, or try them all, you’ve taken a step in the right direction to help your kid become emotionally healthy.

Written by,

Jasmine D.

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