PTSD in Children and Teens - Can Neurofeedback Help?
Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as adults.
In very young children, these symptoms can include:
- Bedwetting, when they’d learned how to use the toilet before.
- Forgetting how or being unable to talk.
- Acting out the scary event during playtime.
- Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.
SYMMETRY Neuro-Pathway Training does not diagnose or treat PTSD. We provide a holistic alternative to medication to help improve symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, panic disorders, depression in children, teens and adults. Research shows for a medical professional to diagnosis a person with PTSD, a person must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
- At least one Re-experiencing symptom
- At least three Avoidance symptoms
- At least two Hyperarousal symptoms
- Symptoms that make it hard to go about daily life, go to school or work, be with friends, and take care of important tasks.
As stated in Part 1: The options available to help improve PTSD is Psychotherapy, Medication and/or Alternative Methods in the form of neurofeedback.
Improving PTSD symptoms with Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is “talk” therapy. It involves talking with a mental health professional to treat a mental illness. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group. Talk therapy treatment for PTSD usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks, but can take more time. Research shows that support from family and friends can be an important part of therapy.
PTSD and Medication
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two medications for treating adults with PTSD:
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
Both of these medications are antidepressants, which are also used to treat depression.
The FDA issued a Black Box Warning (A “black box” warning is the most serious type of warning on prescription drug labeling.)
Black Box Warning – The warning emphasizes that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be closely monitored, especially during the initial weeks of treatment. Possible side effects to look for are worsening depression, suicidal thinking or behavior, or any unusual changes in behavior such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations. The warning adds that families and caregivers should also be told of the need for close monitoring and report any changes to the physician. The latest information can be found on the FDA Web site
Doctors may also prescribe other types of medications, such as the ones listed below. There is little information on how well these work for people with PTSD.
Benzodiazepines – These medications may be given to help people relax and sleep. People who take benzodiazepines may have memory problems or become dependent on the medication.
Antipsychotics – These medications are usually given to people with other mental disorders, like schizophrenia. People who take antipsychotics may gain weight and have a higher chance of getting heart disease and diabetes.
Alternative Option - The Neurofeedback Approach:
Research over the past 40 years has demonstrated that inappropriate brainwave activity is at the core of most neurological disorders. Neurofeedback is a sophisticated form of biofeedback that actually trains the brain to normalize the brainwaves and make them flexible and adaptable to situational needs. And the results are permanent!
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is based upon the principle that there is a normal pattern of brain wave activity and that the brain regulates itself based upon this pattern. Research demonstrates that this normal pattern of brainwave activity may become disrupted, resulting in a dysregulated brain and causing neurological symptoms.
Dysregulated Brain Wave Patterns are Identified on a Quantitative Electroencephalogram or qEEG Brain Map
The goal of neurofeedback is to transform an unhealthy, dysregulated brainwave pattern into a normal, healthy, organized pattern. As such, we are not concerned with diagnosing or labeling a particular condition. Our focus is to identify dysregulated brain wave patterns and provide neurofeedback training to correct those dysregulated patterns. Research has proven that a well regulated, balanced brain will operate more efficiently and optimally resulting in the elimination of symptomatology.