“While most children are resilient and will bounce back from the experience, others are going to need help to recover and feel safe again,” Dr. Deblinger says. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we saw that the children who were most vulnerable to developing anxiety, and even PTSD or depression, had either experienced other significant trauma or emotional difficulties in their past, or had parents who were having difficulty coping with the effects of the storm.”
Dr. Deblinger says her recommendation that parents and guardians seek professional help for children whose symptoms do not subside is especially important. “Decades of research have shown that some children, particularly those who have experienced multiple trauma(s), don’t eventually ‘get over’ or ‘outgrow’ their experiences,” she notes. “Left to recover on their own, some children and adolescents may turn to alcohol, drugs and/or other ineffective ways of coping with the distressing feelings and debilitating symptoms associated with PTSD.”
In 2005, Dr. Deblinger made several trips to the Gulf region to help children recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and to train other therapists in the use of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), a treatment model that she developed with Drs. Judith Cohen and Anthony Mannarino. TF-CBT has been used worldwide to help children overcome stress disorders caused by a variety of traumas, including the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011.
Media interested in interviewing Dr. Deblinger should contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at 856-566-6171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey’s only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending three medical schools, the State’s only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey’s only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of health care services with multiple locations throughout the state.