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California Wildfires - Psychological Effects; Children ... Psychologist Is Available to Discuss Trauma

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Children are the most dependent on others and the ones the least mentally prepared when a disaster strikes, according to a trauma expert.

"Why do children exhibit psychological trauma? There are two sources of security for a child: the security of their parents and the predictability of their physical environment. During a fire both are threatened," according to Los Angeles psychologist Robert R. Butterworth, Ph.D.

Dr. Butterworth added, "A small child who does not understand what is occurring during a fire can easily become confused and frightened as a result of these unpredictable events."

Child Trauma Anxiety Symptoms:

The most frequent childhood fear and anxiety reactions are linked to the fear of being injured or killed or fear of separation from the parents.

Many fears in children occur at night usually during bedtime. This is seen by parents as children afraid to sleep alone, unable to fall asleep or repeatedly awakening throughout the night in which they seek parental reassurance.

Other Trauma Fear-Symptoms in Children:

-- Being afraid to let a parent out of their sight;

-- Afraid of the dark, closed spaces or being outdoors;

-- Reacting with fear to any sudden noises;

-- Regression in toilet habits (bed-wetting);

-- Refusing to eat, nightmares, hyperactivity and irritability;

-- Aggressive episodes with other children;

-- Withdrawal from activities;

-- Reverting to past childish behavior previously outgrown.

Adult Stress Symptoms include:

Anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, impairment in concentration, loss of productivity, feelings of sadness and gloom, and the tendency to link the fire to other traumatic events in their life.

Robert R. Butterworth, Ph.D.

International Trauma Associates;

P.O. Box 76477

Los Angeles, California

213-487-7339 (24 hours)

FAX: 213-477-2340

Psychologist and media commentator, Robert R. Butterworth, Ph.D., has assisted radio, TV, and print media since 1984 find answers and provide insight to enhance understanding of psychological issues on a variety of topics. His comments, observations and op-ed articles have appeared in most of the major newspapers in the United States and worldwide. He is seen quite often on NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and CNN network news especially during monumental events such as violence, disasters and youth tragedies and psychological reactions to breaking news and human event stories.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

SOURCE International Trauma Associates
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