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An increasing amount of attention is being paid to childhood trauma. And that’s a great thing. However, less focus is given to the impact of trauma on teenagers. Some 35 million Americans under the age of 17 have experienced at least one traumatic event. This is nearly half of the children in the U.S., and many of them are between the ages of 14 and 17.

Obviously, it is essential that we acknowledge this trend. Teenage trauma left unaddressed will almost certainly lead to serious mental health issues in adulthood. Let’s explore some examples of teenage trauma and its impact.

A woman offers a supportive hand on the shoulder of a woman in crisis. Learn how trauma therapy in Columbus Ohio can offer support. Search for teenage counseling services near me to find a therapist in Columbus.Examples of Teenage Trauma

There are some types of trauma that are less specific to teenagers but are not less damaging, e.g.

  • Being victimized by crime, violence, or terrorism
  • Forced into becoming a refugee
  • Traumatic grief/death of a loved one
  • Natural disasters
  • Injury, illness, accident, or disability

All of the above can slam the brakes on a teen’s life. This sets the stage for a future of fear, social isolation, and distrust.

Some Traumas More Specific to Teens

  • Bullying: Face-to-face or online, bullying is often considered an epidemic. Tactics can range widely from teasing to stalking to physical threats and more.
  • Physical and Emotional Abuse: It could be at the hands of a caregiver, teacher, relative, or stranger, but no matter the source, such abuse can have long-lasting effects.
  • Sexual Abuse: This type of abuse adds shame and guilt to the mix — often resulting in the teen suffering in silence.
  • Domestic Violence: The threat does have to be direct to the teen. Simply living in a home with a domestic abuser can be traumatic.
  • A Danger in the Community: Living in a high-crime area is bad news at any age. For a teen, it can cause them to withdraw and live a life controlled by fear.
  • Complex Trauma: This is not a singular event. It’s ongoing, like sex trafficking.

5 Ways Trauma Impacts Teenagers

A woman sits with her hands on her head, hiding a concerned expression. Learn more about trauma therapy in Columbus Ohio and the support Columbus Ohio therapists can offer.1. Unable to Regulate Emotions

The teenage years are already a tough time for managing emotions. The added presence of trauma can cause a teen to experience a pendulum of disturbing emotions:

  • Guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Shame

In such a state, your teen may seem prone to outbursts or rebellious behavior.

2. Hypervigilance

The developing brain will struggle to find ways to “make sense” of what’s happened. This could include:

  • Hyper-focus on the details of the trauma
  • Being overly protective of oneself and loved ones
  • Nightmares, flashbacks, and other intrusive thoughts

3. Social Isolation

Sometimes, it just feels easiest to withdraw — from friends, family members, and social events. The traumatized teenager may seek solace in being alone.

4. Displaying a Depressed State

Be on the lookout for any of these red flags:

  • Suddenly becoming cynical, pessimistic, and distrustful
  • Losing interest in activities that once excited them
  • Problems at school: academic, behavior, social, etc.
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of focus and concentration
  • Expressing feelings like hopelessness or despair

5. Unwillingness to Talk About It

Few adults are equipped to discuss trauma. We cannot expect a teenager to process and express such experiences. Also, they may fear upsetting others or being judged. They could fear being blamed for the incidents. Or, simply, the thoughts they are having are too new and complicated for them to understand. Don’t pressure them… get them help!

A close up of a person writing notes while a person gestures with their hands. Learn more about the help a therapist in Columbus can offer by searching for trauma therapy in Columbus Ohio.Help is Available, Start Trauma Therapy in Columbus Ohio 

Trauma is not something that can be fixed with self-help tips. It requires the guidance of a skilled mental health professional. Your teen can recover. The first step is to reach out to set them up for a free consultation. Let’s connect and let’s work together to get your teenager firmly on a healing path. You can start your therapy journey with Blue Boat Counseling by following these simple steps: 

  1. Get in touch with Blue Boat Counseling using the button below
  2. Meet with a caring therapist.
  3. Start improving your mental health!

OTHER THERAPY SERVICES OFFERED WITH BLUE BOAT COUNSELING

Our team offers a variety of other mental health services in addition to trauma therapy. We know that you may require support with other mental health services in addition to past trauma. This is why we are happy to also include services like anxiety therapydepression therapy, and counseling specifically for teens, families, and couples. We also offer online therapy across the state, and support for military veteransContact us to get scheduled or visit our blog to learn more about mental health.