Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at SUWS of the Carolinas to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at SUWS of the Carolinas.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

PTSD Signs & Symptoms

We remain open and are continuing to accept new admissions.

SUWS of the Carolinas remains committed to providing clinically superior services within a safe and supportive environment while taking all appropriate precautions to protect the well-being of our students and staff.

For admissions information, or to learn more about the heightened preventive measures we have put in place, please click the link at the top of this page or call us at (828) 489-3198.

What is PTSD?

Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops after a child or adolescent has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event that has threatened their safety and caused a significant amount of fear. The development of PTSD can cause intense feelings of distress, making it extremely difficult for a child or adolescent to function properly on a day-to-day basis. Furthermore, the continued disturbing thoughts and feelings associated with PTSD can make a child feel as if they no longer have control over their life.

Posttraumatic stress disorder will develop differently in each child or adolescent. Most commonly the symptoms of this disorder will develop within hours or days following the traumatic event, but sometimes it can take up to weeks or months for the symptoms to develop. While any event that leaves a young person feeling helpless and afraid for their life can trigger the onset of PTSD, some of the most common traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include:

  • Natural disasters
  • Car crashes
  • Sudden death of a loved one
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Abuse or neglect

If you have a child or adolescent who is displaying symptoms of PTSD it is critical that you get them professional treatment in order to reduce their symptoms and improve their overall functioning.


Statistics on PTSD

Multiple research studies conducted in the United States have indicated that as many as 43% of teens have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. Of those young people, about 15% of girls and 6% of boys met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.

Causes and Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Any child or adolescent who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event is at risk for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder. While it is impossible to identify who will develop PTSD as the result of a traumatic experience, there are a number of risk factors that can increase a young person’s vulnerability.

Genetic: While PTSD may not have a strong genetic component, researchers still believe that genes play some type of role in the onset of this disorder.  For example, young people who have a family history of anxiety disorders or depression are at an increased risk for the development of PTSD.

Environment: The development of PTSD is a direct result of experiencing, witnessing, or learning about a trauma and so a young person’s environment is going to play a significant role in the development of this mental health disorder.  For example, experiencing a natural disaster, being the victim of a crime, being in a car accident, or the sudden death of a loved one are all environmental factors that can trigger the onset of this disorder.

Risk Factors:

  • Previous traumatic experiences
  • Family history of PTSD or depression
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • History of substance abuse
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • High levels of stress
  • Lack of support after trauma
  • Lack of coping skills
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD

The signs and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents can present differently than the symptoms that adults with PTSD will experience.  Furthermore, while symptoms are going to vary from child to child there are three main types of symptoms, including re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoiding things that remind one of the trauma, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal.  The following are examples of symptoms that children or adolescents may exhibit:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Losing previously-acquired skills (such as toilet training)
  • Somber or compulsive play, where themes of trauma are repeated
  • Acting out trauma through play
  • Clings to parents
  • Wets the bed
  • Avoidance of certain people, places, activities, or events
  • Bedwetting
  • Being unable or unwilling to talk
  • Irritable behavior
  • Startles easily
  • Self-harm
  • Aggression
  • Acting out sexually

Physical symptoms:

  • Sleep problems
  • Aches and pains with no apparent causes
  • Flashbacks
  • Sleepwalking
  • Intense physical reactions when reminded of the trauma (e. g. nausea, muscle tension, profuse sweating, pounding heart, rapid breathing, etc. )

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Nightmares
  • Problems concentrating
  • Depersonalization
  • Derealization

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Fear of being separated from parent
  • Development of new phobias
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Extreme sadness
  • Depression
  • Emotional numbness
  • Suicidal thought or actions
  • Loss of interest in activities

Effects of PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with a number of negative consequences including high levels of social, occupational, and physical disability.  If not properly treated these detrimental effects can continue to impact a child or adolescent into adulthood.  Some of the most commonly experienced negative effects may include:

  • Poor social and family relationships
  • Inability to perform well at school
  • Poor physical health
  • Development of emotional and behavioral problems
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Inability to trust others
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

PTSD and other Co-Occurring Disorders

Children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder are 80% more likely than those without this disorder to have symptoms that meet the diagnostic criteria for another mental health disorder.  Some of the most common disorders that have been known to co-occur with posttraumatic stress disorder include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Conduct disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Separation anxiety disorder

I could not have have asked for a more outstanding therapist. She immediately understood my daughters needs, and was always forthright about what needed to be done. She was fabulous!

– Anonymous Parent
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • AdvancED
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Forest Service Department of Agriculture
  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council
  • Safe Zone
  • Sky's The Limit Fund
  • The Jason Foundation