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Can a 3 year old get PTSD? And how can I help him?

(6 Posts)
elliejjtiny Mon 04-Jul-16 12:19:35

My 3 year old had his 11th general anaesthetic on Friday. He has development delay so has the understanding of a child aged about 18 months.

I've noticed a big difference in his pain levels since the operation which is great but the acute trauma now lasts longer each time. Then there is the long term trauma that is always with him like a total distrust of all but a select few medical proffessionals.

I've done all kinds of things to try and help him. I asked about play therapy sessions and the consultant has said we can try but we are already doing most of the things anyway. He had medazapam (sp) this time which helped a bit but he was still very upset going under the anaesthetic.

Is there anything else we can do? We do beads of courage and share a star. He likes them but doesn't understand that he gets them because of the things he has to go through.

steppemum Mon 04-Jul-16 12:35:26

the short answer to your title is yes.
But the longer answer is that I am not sure that you are dealing with PTSD. He has a very natural fear/wariness of hospitals and medical professionals.

dd2 had 13 GA between aged 18 month sand 2.5. It was very hard. She found it quite easy at the beginning, but by the end getting her to sleep was hard as she was scared of the face mask etc.

She is now 8, and doesn't remember any of it, and doesn't have any lingering fear of medial profession. BUT she doesn't have on going medical issues, so since 2.5 she has hardly been near a doctor.

Definitely ask for a play therapist, even for little ones it can help. Ask also if there are support charities attached to the hospital that can help you and him.

elliejjtiny Mon 04-Jul-16 18:25:11

Thankyou. He has GA number 12 booked for October and I can't see it letting up anytime soon. I will ask about play therapy again.

NattyTile Mon 04-Jul-16 18:51:36

Play therapy has been brilliant for my child's hospital anxiety. Also letting her be in control over as much as possible when it is GA time. So she decides which hand/elbow will be creamed first, she decides mask or needle for it, she decides whether to walk down or be pushed in her bed.

Midazolam doesn't necessarily calm her down beforehand, but it does wipe her memories afterwards which is handy.

Our play specialist came out to the house and brought a special doll which can have cannula, O2, all kinds of tubes. She also brought over some cannula for my dd to play with; then even painted pictures squirting paint through them.

It really has helped. If you get nowhere with the consultant, then it might be worth approaching a charity to do with any particular condition your child has; they may have funding or else know where to source some.

BlackSwan Mon 04-Jul-16 21:14:30

Hi ellie - my son had something like 45 stamps in his GA passport by the time he was 5 (he had 30 rounds of radiation with GA each time so that bumped it up). It was always traumatic. He has a phobia of masks so we always pushed for injection rather than gas. He used to plead with the doctors "No needles, no masks, no completely white rooms, no beige rooms." It was heartbreaking.
Without the mask, the experience was manageable - though I worried a good deal about how this was impacting him emotionally. He's 6 now, and I don't think he bears any emotional scars from this. So as hard as this is in the shorter term, hopefully he will prove resilient and be able to put it behind him when his treatment is finished.

steppemum Tue 05-Jul-16 09:01:36

dd had a hospital dolly. She was doll whose eyes closed, and the nurses always did stuff to dolly first, and then to dd, even if it was something small. When it was time for GA dolly got put to sleep (hence the eyes closed thing) and then dd went down to the room.

Hospital dolly certainly helped a lot.

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