Medication for Traumatic Stress in Children

Medication can be a component of treating children with traumatic stress. It can provide relief from symptoms such as disabling anxiety, sadness, or sleep difficulties.

Doctors at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone prescribe medication very carefully, and rarely recommend it to children with traumatic stress who aren’t also receiving psychotherapy. Sometimes medication may be helpful in the short term to help a child manage emotions while he or she is developing these skills through therapy.

If our specialists believe medications may be helpful, they carefully discuss the risks and benefits with you and your child, so that you can make the best decision about whether medications should be used.

A medication consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist allows you to discuss any questions or worries you have about medication as a treatment option. A variety of different medications may be recommended, depending on the specific issues that need to be addressed.

Treatment with medication is typically continued for several months or longer after symptoms resolve. During follow-up visits, your child’s doctor assesses how well the medication is working and develops a long-term medication management plan. Some children can taper down the dosage until they no longer need the medication. Others may use medication for a longer period if symptoms persist.

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