How Does Trauma Affect Children?

How Does Trauma Affect Children?

There is an old saying that goes, “Don’t waste your youth growing up.” There may be nothing more precious than the innocence of being a kid. Unfortunately, the reality is that not everyone gets to experience an idyllic childhood. Many childhoods are made unhealthy as they are crushingly interrupted by trauma.

Sadly, much of this trauma often happens in the child’s own home. The actions and behavior of parents have a lasting impression on children. For example, if children are in an environment where parental drinking is common, they are at higher risk of developing a mental health disorder in their teenage years and young adulthood.

Unfortunately, childhood trauma cannot always be avoided. Fortunately, the effects of childhood trauma can be treated. The important thing is to catch this trauma as early as possible, as it can lead to dangerous and lasting consequences.

The Potential for Childhood Trauma

As far as we know, no one is immune to experiencing childhood trauma. It is merely a matter of whether those experiences ever present themselves in a child’s life. The potential for childhood trauma is always present. However, some factors make children much more susceptible to experiencing trauma.

It should also be noted that in today’s stressful climate, with the added last three years of turmoil from the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of childhood trauma are occurring at significantly elevated levels. One of the primary reasons for this is much of childhood trauma is experienced in the home, and the COVID-19 pandemic forced record numbers of children to isolate at home. 

This isolation forced many children away from the social resources needed to mitigate their volatile home lives. This also caused many children to be trapped within their trauma-inducing home environments without a means of escape.

Causes of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can occur from several different causes. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Child trauma occurs more than you think. More than two-thirds of children reported at least 1 traumatic event by age 16.” 

Some of the potential causes of childhood trauma include:

  • Psychological, physical, or sexual abuse
  • Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence
  • Sudden or violent loss of a loved one
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Serious accidents or life-threatening illness

Sadly, many of these traumas occur in the home. Many of these traumas are also the result of substance use disorders (SUDs) or mental health disorders within the household. A guardian struggling with SUD or mental health is more likely to either create or allow a toxic home life to occur. The brunt of this toxicity is often experienced by the children in the home.

Effects of Childhood Trauma

According to an article in the journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, childhood trauma not only causes psychological effects, but it can also cause biological ones as well. The article explains how childhood trauma is the cause “of the greater rates of psychopathology (PTSD, depression, disruptive behaviors, suicidality, substance use disorders) and of the common medical disorders (cardiovascular disease, obesity, chronic pain syndromes, gastrointestinal disorders, immune dysregulation) seen in child victims.” 

These effects can be devastating, not just when the trauma occurs, but for the remainder of an individual’s life. No one should have to struggle from a lifetime of trauma, especially from something that is entirely out of their control.

That is why we here at Roots Through Recovery believe it is crucial to seek and receive treatment for childhood trauma as soon as possible. However, that does not mean that there is a limited window for recovery from childhood trauma. Many people do not even realize that their mental health issues stem from instances of childhood trauma.

It is never too late to recover from childhood trauma. Roots Through Recovery has many options to help you achieve that recovery.

There Is Hope: Recovering From Childhood Trauma

While experiencing any childhood trauma can be devastating, that does not mean that its effects have to dictate your life moving forward. There are many therapeutic and treatment options for those struggling with the impact of childhood trauma.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

One potential option for treating childhood trauma is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy can be beneficial because it can unearth experiences of childhood trauma and how they have affected an individual’s thought patterns and behaviors. Once these root causes are established, then other forms of treatment can also be incorporated.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Another treatment that can be very effective in treating childhood trauma is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. EMDR can be used to take these negative emotions and thought patterns and reframe how the individual reacts and behaves when these emotions occur in the future. 

Holistic Treatments

Roots Through Recovery also has holistic options like meditation and diaphragmatic breathing exercises to help individuals cope with their childhood trauma moving forward. These are just a few of the ways that Roots Through Recovery have helped our clients move beyond their childhood trauma.

Move Past Childhood Trauma Today

While we, unfortunately, can’t always intervene before a childhood trauma occurs, we can help you move past it. Nobody should have to “waste their youth growing up.” However, if this happened to you or someone you love, let us help you get a little bit of your childhood back.

Childhood trauma is much more common than many people think. This trauma can develop for several different reasons. The child may be struggling with a dysfunctional home life, such as a parent struggling with instances of alcohol or substance abuse. This childhood trauma is not to be taken lightly. Some of the effects that can occur from childhood trauma are anxiety and depression, withdrawal from everyday activities, trouble concentrating, and self-harm. Childhood trauma is serious. If you or someone you know has experienced childhood trauma, Roots Through Recovery can help you find healing. For more information on our program and how we can help you heal from trauma, contact us at (562) 473-0827.

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