There are many factors that may contribute to learning disabilities, including declining mental health. If you or a loved one is struggling in school, mental health may have something to do with it. In fact, there is a proven link between PTSD and learning disabilities. Understanding the connection between trauma and education is crucial to finding the support you need to thrive.
As an expert in mental health treatment, especially trauma disorders, Ascend is here to provide an overview of trauma in teens, and how their education may be suffering. Whether you’re the one who’s struggling, or you’re a parent of a child who might have PTSD, we’re available to help. Read this overview about PTSD in teens, and then, reach out to us to discuss treatment options.
Why Does PTSD Affect Learning?
Trauma and the development of PTSD can have a significant impact on brain function, which may result in learning difficulties. This happens because traumatic experiences can affect the parts of the brain responsible for memory, focus, and concentration. When these areas are compromised, it can make it difficult to retain new information and stay on task.
Additionally, the stress response that is triggered by PTSD can interfere with processes like problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking. PTSD in teens can even affect more than academic performance, including problems dealing with everyday tasks due to disruptive triggers.
Why Does Trauma in Teens Make Learning Difficult?
PTSD and learning disabilities are linked for a number of reasons. Here are some of the common ways trauma can affect your brain:
- Difficulty concentrating – The intrusive thoughts and flashbacks associated with PTSD can make it hard to focus on schoolwork, leading to poor performance.
- Memory problems – Traumatic experiences can affect how the brain processes and stores memories, making it hard to recall information when needed.
- Hyperarousal – People with PTSD often experience heightened levels of anxiety and fear, which can make it difficult to relax and concentrate on learning.
- Negative self-beliefs – Traumatic experiences can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, or worthlessness, which may impact a person’s confidence in their abilities and hinder their willingness to learn.
- Sleep disturbances – PTSD can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and difficulty concentrating during the day.
- Anxiety – One way that PTSD manifests is through intense feelings of anxiety, which can make it hard to cope with the stress and pressure of academic activities.
While these factors show how trauma and education are related, it’s important to remember that these struggles do not reflect your intelligence or capabilities.
Recognizing the Signs of Trauma & Education Difficulties
It can be challenging for parents or teens themselves to recognize the signs of PTSD and learning disabilities. If you’re worried that trauma may be an issue, some common red flags to look out for include:
- A sudden decline in academic performance
- Difficulty completing assignments or staying organized
- Avoiding school or specific classes
- Trouble focusing in class or during homework time
- Low self-esteem and negative self-talk related to academic struggles
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to talk to a trusted adult and seek help.
Seeking Treatment for PTSD & Learning Disabilities
Early intervention is key when it comes to addressing PTSD and learning disabilities in teens. Treatment can help teens learn coping mechanisms and develop skills to manage their symptoms and improve their academic performance. At Ascend, our trauma disorder treatment program combines evidence-based therapies with experiential therapy and a compassionate approach to support teens in their journey toward healing.
Call Ascend Today for Support
If you suspect that you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD and learning disabilities, don’t wait to seek help. Our team at Ascend is here to provide support and guidance for both you and your child. Call 310.388.3713 or reach out online today to learn more about our residential and outpatient treatment programs for teens in the Los Angeles County area.