The Teenage Brain Is More Vulnerable to Emotional Trauma
The Teenage Brain Is More Vulnerable to Emotional TraumaWe all go through a form of emotional trauma at some point in our lives–the death of a loved one, a car crash, a fire. As adults, when something traumatic happens, we’re better equipped with coping mechanisms to readily process and work through the effects; teens have a harder time with this. Teenage trauma is something that can be impactful to overall well being and mental health well into adulthood. During the adolescent years, teenage brains are going through extreme changes during the adolescent years, making emotional trauma a higher-level threat to mental health than for adults.
Harder for the teen brain to calm downResearch suggests that the teen years are filled with a higher level of anxiety than childhood or adulthood because of brain development. The part of the brain associated with processing emotions like fear forms before the part the part associated with reasoning. Researchers believe this makes it easier for teens to jump to anxiety than to calm down. This adds to why emotional trauma during adolescence is a bit different than in adulthood. While an event may be mildly distressing for an adult, it could be extremely upsetting for a teenager–even to the point of emotional trauma.
Recognizing trauma in a teenagerIf your teen has suddenly become detached and doesn’t seem to want to spend any time with you, it could be a phase or it could be something deeper. The trick is noticing other signs and symptoms. While it may be normal for a teen to avoid their parents and activities associated with them, it isn’t normal to do that and start abusing alcohol. Teens who have suffered an emotional trauma can turn to many different forms of coping–a lot of them unsavory. From the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some signs your teen may be struggling to deal with an psychological or emotional trauma include:
- Issues sleeping
- Sudden change in eating habits
- Re-experiencing a traumatic event through recollections or nightmares
- Avoiding anything that may remind them of the event
- A numbness towards the event
- Seeming on-edge frequently
- Paranoia concerning another event happening