Trauma is a term that is utilized to describe an adverse emotional reaction to a distressing event. Some examples of these events are earthquakes and hurricanes, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, and a car accident. Childhood trauma occurs during childhood and can have consequences on the child’s development. Studies show that events that are known as interpersonal or intentional trauma result in more negative consequences. These are things like loss of a caregiver, sexual abuse, physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Research indicates that the prevalence of childhood trauma is quite high as it has been found that nearly half of the children in the United States have experienced at least one form of trauma in their lifetime. More specifically the most common causes of childhood trauma are as follows:
- Car accident
- Bullying and/or cyberbullying
- Witnessing domestic violence or living in a household where abuse is present
- Living with a parent who is living with a mental illness or substance abuse issue
- Child Abuse i.e physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse
- Separation from a parent or primary caregiver
- Sudden or unexpected medical condition
- War and/or terrorism
- Violence in surrounding environment i.e home, school, or community
A natural part of child development is to learn to understand and cope with difficult situations, even tragedies. However, there are experiences that result in a child becoming almost stuck. What this means is that the experiences or ongoing experience may leave a child feeling a huge sense of fear and loss. This may result in them feeling that they are not safe and they have no control in their lives. The results of this can be long-term and can even impact the child’s overall development. It is important to note, that trauma is not only a negative event but it is terribly painful to cope with. It is so painful that actually you might be unable to cope with it in a healthy way.
The Impact of Trauma
A traumatic event that occurs during childhood may leave a mark on your body as well as your mind. If the trauma is prolonged meaning it occurs for a long period of time it can have negative impacts on the child’s brain structure. During our childhood our brain is busy growing and developing and experiencing trauma can really impact that process of development. The reason is that instead of developing in a normal manner, the brain develops in a way that helps you survive in the negative environment that you are in. Trauma during childhood can impact the way we think and behave. In addition, trauma during childhood has been linked to negative health outcomes during adulthood.
As children one of the earliest things we develop is your self-concept. This self-concept follows you throughout your life. Trauma severely alters this self-concept and it is important to work on changing the way you think. In addition to that, when experiencing abuse or neglect as a child you form a core belief that you are not good enough. Survivors of trauma hide who they are and present only who they think would please their caregiver or the individuals in their environment. In addition, as a result of such a negative experience that was traumatizing, it is quite common to feel guilt and responsibility in the trauma that occurred. More specifically, one might feel that the trauma is a punishment for something.
Impact on Mental and Physical Health
Trauma impacts all aspects of an individual. So it is common to see children who have experienced trauma with poor physical health. It has been cited that adults who are survivors of childhood trauma are more likely to have problems with their digestion, frequent headaches, and other illnesses. In addition, it is not uncommon to see children experience issues with emotion regulation, where they cannot control their emotions nor can they manage or understand emotions. In addition, they may have cognitive problems which can result in poor memory, issues concentrating, and specific learning disabilities. Many times, teachers or parents notice these cognitive challenges and right away they ask where is there ADHD testing near me. However, it is important to be trauma informed or take trauma in consideration when making searching for ADHD testing near me.
Understanding Your Own Trauma
Most of us have experienced negative experiences during our lifetime but as previously stated this does not necessarily mean that it was traumatic. It may be helpful to look back at your childhood and life in general and reflect back on your memories or experiences. If you have experienced something like abuse or neglect ask yourself do I experience :
- Becoming frustrated easily
- Feeling hopeless and/or helpless
- Take too much or too little control
- Feel powerless
- Feel inadequate
- Become dependent on others
- Poor physical health with no explanation
- Become dizzy
- Feel numb
- Chronic back pain
- Extremely fearful
- Chronic exhaustion
- Dry Mouth
It is Never Too Late to Get Help
Although these experiences occurred during your childhood, remember they have long lasting effects that can become improved. Sometimes our traumatic experiences are not obvious to us however we know that something happen. It may be helpful to see a mental health therapist who is knowledgeable in trauma. In addition, it may be helpful to join a support group or talk to a close relative. As you get that support it may be helpful to journal and meditate.
As a survivor of trauma you might realize that you are just unable to build, create, and maintain healthy relationships. However, as you reach out for help from experienced professionals you may realize that things begin to change. You may become able to create healthy relationships because you now know what a healthy relationship is, and that you are deserving of it. A therapist can help you cope with all your challenges and help you with communication, stress management, conflict resolution, and emotion regulation. Overcoming the long lasting effects of trauma is difficult however it is possible. At RK Care Group, we want to help you, visit our website at rkcaregroup.com.