Your worst nightmare as a parent is seeing your child suffer while you watch helplessly on the sidelines. You don’t understand why they’re suffering or what you can do to make the pain go away. But as their parent, you are actually in the best position to help your child recover. All it takes is getting your child help at a trauma treatment program designed to handle teen trauma.
Red Mountain Colorado is an inpatient trauma and PTSD treatment center for teens that is built upon emotional safety, competence, compassion, and consistency. The mission of our trauma treatment program is to help your child recover from trauma and grow into a healthy, stable adult.
If you are interested in learning more about how our mindfulness-based program may be a good fit for your teen, this guide is meant to be comprehensive, but as such, not every section will be applicable to everyone. Instead, we invite you to click on the links in the table of contents to jump to the sections that most interest you.
Did you know that over 60 percent of teenagers aged 13 to 17 have experienced at least one traumatic event in their life? A traumatic event is defined as a distressing experience that has a long-term and lasting effect on an individual’s physical and emotional well-being.
These distressing events could be as extreme as sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical assault, or a life-threatening illness/injury. Or, trauma could occur as a result of neglect, bullying, grief, witnessing disturbing events, and other chronic adverse childhood experiences.
If not treated properly, teens oftentimes blame themselves for what happened, even if it wasn’t their fault. Trauma can also stay with them through the rest of their lives and manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder caused by trauma. Teens with PTSD are oftentimes “triggered” by people or environments that recall the initial traumatic incident. This can lead to flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, disturbing thoughts and feelings, and depression.
Our trauma treatment center’s goal is to help your teen recover from their PTSD and work through the trauma they’ve faced so that it doesn’t stunt their growth and stay with them through the rest of their lives.
Trauma is especially hard on teenagers because the teen brain is still in a constant state of growth. PTSD can affect the brain’s structure and influence your teen’s emotions and behaviors.
Since the brain develops from back to front, the pre-frontal cortex at the front of the brain develops last. This is the part of the brain that controls reasoning and impulses. If your teen is suffering from trauma and PTSD, they may exhibit impulsive and destructive behaviors because their pre-frontal cortex isn’t developed enough to cope with the trauma and make smarter decisions.
Teens are also dealing with floods of hormones rushing in and out of their brains as they continue to mature. These hormone fluctuations can also heighten the stress your teen is already feeling and trigger mood swings and aggressive behaviors.
Symptoms of Teen Trauma
Trauma and PTSD aren’t always easy to catch unless you know what you’re looking for. If your teen exhibits some or all of the following symptoms, they may need help recovering from a traumatic incident or experience:
Flashbacks and/or night terrors: Trauma and PTSD can lead to terrifying flashbacks and nightmares that leave your teen scared and visibly shaken.
Aggression and angry outbursts: It’s common for teens struggling with PTSD to have extreme mood swings and show signs of aggression.
Fear and anxiety: Does your teen get scared about going to certain places or interacting with specific people? These may be triggers that are linked to your teen’s PTSD.
Depression: If your teen goes through ongoing bouts of grief or depression, it may be due to whatever trauma they experienced.
How Does Red Mountain Colorado Help Teens with Trauma?
Red Mountain Colorado is a trauma-informed program. This means that we take a holistic approach to working with teens whose lives have been upended by any form of trauma, taking into account physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of treatment.
During your teen’s treatment, they will work with a skilled therapist in a safe environment to address what they’ve gone through and heal from it. We tailor your teen’s treatment to their specific needs and the type of trauma they’re struggling with, leveraging different therapy modalities like CBT, DBT, EMDR, Somatic Experiencing and other mindfulness-based techniques.
Our teen trauma program also incorporates experiential and adventure therapy. We know that every teen responds differently to treatment programs. For example, martial arts may help one teen eliminate the fear of future abuse, while meditation and mindfulness may help another teen leave the trauma in the past where it belongs. Your teen will participate in different types of activities and experiences in order to regain self-esteem and confidence and improve their well-being.
Mindfulness Programming Central to Healing Trauma
At Red Mountain Colorado, we believe that a holistic mind-body approach is necessary for healing trauma, which has a significant impact on one’s body and mind. For many teens who have survived trauma, they live in one or the other and have trouble integrating both parts of their experience. This may mean they feel like they are living on autopilot and make impulsive decisions or that they overthink things but feel disconnected from reality.
Mindfulness retrains the brain to connect to physical sensations and encourages subtle changes in one’s physiology that reminds the body it is safe. By calming the nervous system, teens become less attached to anxious thoughts and traumatic memories.
Another principle of mindfulness is radical acceptance. This teaches teens to accept negative thoughts and emotions as temporary rather than trying to resist them and feeling hopeless. These techniques help teens see beyond re-establishing a sense of safety and helps them imagine a future of freedom from trauma.
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Outcomes of Teen Trauma Treatment at Red Mountain Colorado
When your teen comes to Red Mountain Colorado for trauma treatment, they’ll experience recovery that can transform their life forever. Your teen can achieve the following outcomes through our treatment program:
Some key elements of our approach are:
A calmer and more confident disposition
Interest in new passions to help them feel fulfilled
Increased self-esteem and empathy towards others
Greater self-awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and actions
Red Mountain Colorado is a leading residential treatment center for teens ages 13-17, built on the shoulders of some of the most experienced and well-respected individuals in the field of adolescent and young adult treatment.