What Is The Best Therapy For Children After Trauma? Nobody Is SureEditor's Choice
Main Category: Pediatrics / Children's Health
Also Included In: Anxiety / Stress; Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 12 Feb 2013 - 9:00 PST
What Is The Best Therapy For Children After Trauma? Nobody Is Sure
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Little evidence is available to determine the best treatment options for children suffering from post-traumatic stress. Traumas such as school shootings, car accidents, and man-made disasters can cause serious long-term negative consequences which can be very difficult to treat.
An estimated 66 percent of children and teenagers under the age of 18 experience some sort of traumatic event during their childhood. A recent evidence review of 22 studies, published in Pediatrics, tried to identify the most effective form of treating kids who experienced trauma.
According to the abstract, the objective of the study was: "To assess the effectiveness of interventions targeting traumatic stress among children exposed to non-relational traumatic events (eg, accidents, natural disasters, war)."
Post traumatic stress is characterized by a series of symptoms; concentration difficulties, trouble sleeping, nightmares, and lingering negative thoughts of the traumatic event.
It is important that children who experience a trauma receive help within weeks before these symptoms begin to severely manifest themselves. A traumatic childhood background has been associated with an increased risk of drug addiction, impulsivity and compulsiveness, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge.
Trauma in children has also been linked to a shorter lifespan and weaker immune system later in life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy found to be effectiveThe evidence showed that only a few different therapies had any positive effect in helping children change unhealthy thoughts and behavior associated with trauma.
No antidepressants or other medications were found to have any real benefits.
Only a few psychotherapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, were found to help children suffering from trauma - albeit by only a bit. Talk therapy was found to have more beneficial effects than any medication.
None of the studies looked into how therapeutic intervention can affect the long-term development of a child though.
Currently, the researchers believe they are unable to make any real recommendations as to what the best form of treatment is. The evidence is just too lacking.
The authors conclude in their abstract:
"Our findings serve as a call to action: Psychotherapeutic intervention may be beneficial relative to no treatment in children exposed to traumatic events. Definitive guidance, however, requires far more research on the comparative effectiveness of interventions targeting children exposed to nonrelational traumatic events."
The study highlights the need for more research to be carried out in order to identify the best way to help children suffering from trauma.
Written by Joseph Nordqvist
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
Valerie L. Forman-Hoffman, PhD, MPHa, Adam J. Zolotor, MD, DrPHb, Joni L. McKeeman, PhDc, Roberto Blanco, MDc, Stefanie R. Knauer, MAd, Stacey W. Lloyd, MPHd, Jenifer Goldman Fraser, PhD, MPHe, and Meera Viswanathan, PhDa
25 May. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256292.php>
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