Recovering from Traumatic Events
Emotional disconnect in children often occurs after an event which is perceived to be so traumatic event they are unable to deal with it psychologically. In response to this, some children develop inappropriate responses to situations in their lives that persist over time.
Occurrence is prevalent in victims of abuse, although children who have been in accidents, suffered long term debilitating illnesses or witnessed the death or injury of someone close to them are at risk. On the flip side, emotional disconnect may occur as a result of an underlying mental health issue that is present such as autism.
It is important that social and emotional problems are addressed early in children, as the longer they are left the more resilient they are to intervention. Indications that a child is suffering from emotional disconnect is that they will not respond to their environment in the same way as other children, for example they will not display happiness or fear. Childhood emotional problems are highly cor-relational to criminality, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and aggression in later life.
Skills such as cooperation, self control are skills taught at both home and school, which a child suffering from emotional disconnect will not get the opportunity to properly learn. These are important skills, and individuals who lack them will experience a multitude of problems as a result.
Signs of Disconnect
A child who is emotionally disconnected will often withdraw from friends, family and teachers which will exacerbate the feeling of loneliness that they are already likely to be experiencing. Early connections with caregivers and peers are important, and missing out on these connections are likely to have an impact on future relationships. Individuals who experienced emotional disconnect as a child report being unable to maintain bonds in friendships or relationships and feel a lack of trust for others with the inability to relate.
Researchers have found that affectionate communication can help to ease emotional disconnect. Closeness, hugs and body language can all have a positive impact on the child, even if it is only reducing their anxiety; this type of contact is associated with the release of stress relief hormones such as serotonin.
Children suffering from problems including emotional disconnect should be referred to the appropriate help as soon as possible for treatment. A family GP is able to ensure their are no physical health issues and make referrals to an appropriate psychologist/psychiatrist. Most hospitals will also offer thorough diagnostic or evaluation services for children.
Counseling and therapy sessions will allow the child to understand and get over the initial trauma experience, while building confidence and social skills. Self help treatments such as writing emotions in a journal or speaking to friends and family are also ways that can help to speed the child’s recovery from trauma. If mental health problems such as Aspergers, Dyspraxia or other types of autism are present the child is able to be efficiently treated and given coping strategies to improve how they feel.