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Hi, I am very worried about my niece. She was always very active and playful, but for the last couple of weeks she is just not the same. It seems like all of her energy is gone. She was always open to people but now she just sits in the corner and talks only to her dolly. When I ask my sister about it she says that there is nothing wrong with her and that I am overreacting. Judging from her symptoms, I believe that my niece has suffered some kind of stressful event that had left a significant mark on her. The problem is that I don't know how to help her. Can you tell me what the best way to deal with stress disorders in children is?

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Hi, children react very intensely to stressful events. If your niece experienced a situation in which her life, or a life of someone dear to her was endangered she may be at risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder. The trigger for this condition may be the involvement in physical or sexual abuse, home violence or some kind of natural disaster. Children affected with posttraumatic stress disorder are often confused, frighten and sad. Involvement in a repetitive traumatic situation may result in emotional numbing called dissociation. Some of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in children are lost of interest in their favorite activities, sudden emotional reactions and behavior that is not consistent with their age. I have to tell you that you will not be able to deal with this situation on your own. The best way to help your niece is to talk with your sister more seriously and try to determine the cause of the problem. If you manage to convince your sister that her daughter needs help you can advice her to take your niece to a professional therapist.
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