Diagnosing PTSD

Preetpal Sandhu, MD Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, shares advice for parents on how to tell if their child has PTSD following a traumatic event in their life
How To Tell If Your Child Has PTSD After A Traumatic Event
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Diagnosing PTSD

The diagnosis of PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder involves four main components. The first is that your child has to have been exposed to a traumatic event. Let´s say a car accident. The second is that your child has to reexperience the feelings that they had or the thoughts that they had during that traumatic experience. The third is that they have to have a desire to avoid stimuli associated with that trauma. So for example, for a child who is in a car accident, they wouldn´t want to get into a car again. The fourth is what we call autonomic hyper arousal. It´s a fancy word for the feeling that you get when you are on a balcony and somebody comes up behind you and gives you a gentle nudge, and you go huh, like that. That´s something that children who have experienced a traumatic event will start to feel when they experience a traumatic event. So again, a child who has been in a child accident, when they hear a car skid, they get that same feeling. That feeling of being extremely jumpy, extremely aware. That´s called autonomic hyper arousal.

Preetpal Sandhu, MD Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, shares advice for parents on how to tell if their child has PTSD following a traumatic event in their life


Expert Bio

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Preetpal Sandhu, MD

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

Dr. Sandhu is a UCLA-trained, Board Certified Psychiatrist who has practiced Psychiatry at UCLA and in Beverly Hills for several years. He did his undergraduate work at UCLA where he was named to Phi Beta Kappa. He then completed medical school at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine and was named a Dean's scholar. He also received a master’s degree in Business Administration from University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business where he was named to the Dean's list.

Dr. Sandhu then pursued training in Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles, Neuropsychiatric Institute (now named the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior). While at UCLA completing his residency and fellowship he was named the Chief Fellow of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training program. He then proceeded to work at UCLA as part of the Attending Staff on the Child and Adolescent Inpatient unit. He is a member in good standing of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists (AACAP) and has served as the Southern California Regional Organization’s President.

His areas of interest include attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and the roles coordinated psychiatry and psychotherapy can have in jointly improving outcomes.

Dr. Sandhu lives in the Los Angeles area with his family and is actively involved in teaching medical students, residents, and fellows at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, snowboarding, basketball, golf, video games, and travel.

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