POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 103 POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD): ALL AGES Other Related Conditions A similar condition to PTSD is Acute Stress Disorder: • Acute Stress Disorder: when one's symptoms have lasted less than 4-weeks • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): when one's symptoms have lasted more than 4-weeks What are other common problems? Untreated, PTSD can lead to many problems, and can essentially prevent a person from leading a normal life. In particular, PTSD can contribute to: • Drinking or drug problems • Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair • Employment problems • Relationships problems including divorce and violence • Physical symptoms Because of all the ways that PTSD can disrupt not just the person's life but the lives of friends and family, it makes it all the more important to get help and treatment for PTSD. Children and PTSD Children can have PTSD. They may have the same symptoms as adults, or they may be different depending on how old they are. Common symptoms may include: • Behaving like they did when they were younger • Being unable to talk • Complaining of stomach problems or headaches a lot • Refusing to go places or play with friends. Young children may become upset if their parents are not close by, have trouble sleeping, or suddenly have trouble with toilet training or going to the bathroom Children who are in the first few years of elementary school (ages 6 to 9) may act out the trauma through play, drawings, or stories. They may complain of physical problems or become more irritable or aggressive. They also may develop fears and anxiety that don't seem to be caused by the traumatic event. As children get older their symptoms are more like those of adults. Do I have PTSD? If you are wondering if you may have PTSD, go see your doctor. In addition, you can take the following screening questionnaire, developed by Breslau and colleagues (Breslau, 1999). If you answer yes to four or more questions, it indicates a high likelihood of having PTSD, and you should speak with a health professional. As the questionnaire is for screening purposes only, it is not a substitute for diagnosis, or seeing a health professional. If you have any concerns at all, speak with your doctor. ►