How To Heal From Childhood Trauma

In this article, you’ll discover how to heal from childhood trauma, the various treatment opportunities, and more.

How to heal from childhood Trauma

Article Contents

What Is Childhood Trauma

The National Institute of Mental Health defines childhood trauma as “the experiencing of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressing, which frequently results in long-lasting mental and physical repercussions.”1

Types of Childhood Trauma

Trauma can harm a child in many different ways. Here are a few instances:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Natural catastrophe (hurricane, earthquake, flood)
  • Vehicle or plane crashes
  • War
  • Observing a fatality, a murder, or a suicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Shootings (Drive-by shootings, school shootings)
  • Incest
  • Fires
  • Egregious neglect
  • Domestic violence hostage situations

How Does Childhood Trauma Affect You Later in Life?

An adult’s quality of life can be significantly impacted by experiencing abuse or neglect as a child in numerous ways some of which are:

  • Emotional Health: Those who have survived childhood abuse frequently feel fear, worry, guilt, shame, helplessness, grief, despair, and fury.

  • Mental Health: Anxiety, despair, self-harm, suicide, PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, and interpersonal issues are all more common in those who experienced trauma as children.

  • Physical Health: Children who experience trauma and abuse may develop what is referred to as “a heightened stress response.” Through adulthood, this can affect their capacity to control their emotions, cause problems sleeping, impair their immune system, and lead to other medical conditions.

What Causes Trauma in Childhood?

There are various factors that can occur throughout childhood which can lead to the development of trauma. These will be detailed below.

Neglect

Child neglect is the deprivation of a child’s necessities, such as supervision, health care, clothes, and shelter, as well as other physical, emotional, social, educational, and safety requirements. Child neglect is a form of child abuse.2

Anxious Parents

Parental anxiety is typically characterized by excessive worry about the possibility of problems. Anxious parents may express their anxieties to their children, who may then internalize these issues as their own.3

Some people also frequently exhibit signs of anxiety in the way they behave in particular circumstances, such as being “highly strung,” “jumpy,” “jittery,” “fussy,” or “avoidant.” Children may discover that particular circumstances make their parents anxious, which could cause them to feel similarly threatened by those circumstances and to respond to them in a similarly avoidant way.4

Serious Childhood Illness

Children are more likely to experience the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder if they have painful or invasive medical procedures or require long-term care due to chronic disease, accidents, or injuries. Children’s views of the event are crucial, according to research, and they are more likely to experience post-traumatic stress symptoms if they believe the event to have been particularly terrifying, life-threatening, sudden, or painful.

Loss Of A Parent

Losing a mother or father during a child’s formative years has profound psychological impacts. Children who lose a parent are more likely to experience a variety of adverse outcomes, such as mental health problems (such as depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, and post-traumatic stress symptoms), shorter schooling, lower academic success, lower self-esteem, and more sexual risk behaviors, among others.

A Learning Disability

Childhood trauma exposure can have a negative impact on a person’s capacity for maintaining consciousness and paying attention, both of which are essential for learning. This is why stopping the progression of academic issues requires early recognition of traumatic distress. 

Trauma triggers can result in a dissociative state, which means that the child is transported back to an earlier hazardous period rather than being completely present in the present. Triggers can cause flashbacks, which are intense recollections that sometimes seem to be happening right now.

How To Recognize If Your Childhood Trauma Is Affecting You

How to heal from childhood Trauma

There are several ways to tell if childhood trauma is affecting you. These will be discussed in detail below.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is a mental health disease that can be brought on by experiencing it or seeing a tragic event. Flashbacks, nightmares, excruciating anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the incident are just a few possible symptoms. Patients with a history of childhood trauma frequently suffer from PTSD.

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Young children often exhibit passive-aggressive behavior. As a result of not knowing how to express their emotions healthily, angry children tend to hide their feelings. By preventing them from finding a way to express their anger and stifling their feelings, parents might force their kids to suppress their anger.

Depression and Anxiety

One of the strongest and most significant risk factors for depression and anxiety disorders is childhood trauma.

Altered States of Consciousness

Trauma in childhood can cause a change in one’s typical mental state known as an altered state of consciousness. The person is not completely unconscious in this situation.

Lowered Cognitive Ability

Early childhood trauma can lead to attachment instability, cognitive deficits, and poor emotional control. A subsequent impairment can also result from the underdevelopment of some pathways and the overdevelopment of others.5

How to Heal from Childhood Trauma

Here are some ways to start healing from childhood trauma:
  • Reflect on early memories.
  • Study stress-reduction methods
  • Regain control of your feelings and actions
  • Appreciate individuals up close
  • Clean up your diet
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Consult a counselor
  • Make an effort to ask for help

Additionally, therapy can help heal childhood trauma, equipping the individual with the necessary techniques to maintain wellness. These will be presented below.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

An evidence-based treatment strategy known as trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been found to assist children, adolescents, and their parents or other caregivers in overcoming trauma-related challenges. It is intended to lessen adverse psychological and behavioral reactions to trauma, such as domestic abuse, traumatic loss, mass disasters, multiple traumas, child sexual abuse, and other forms of abuse against children.

Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

After suffering a range of traumatic situations, including child abuse, Cognitive Processing Treatment (CPT), a particular behavioral therapy, has been useful in lowering PTSD symptoms. It teaches patients how to question and alter harmful trauma-related beliefs. By doing this, the patient reframes and conceptualizes the traumatic incident in order to lessen its long-lasting detrimental impact on present-day life.

Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET)

Trauma disorders can be treated through Narrative Exposure Therapy, especially in patients who have experienced several, complicated traumas. It is a form of individual-level psychosocial therapy with the goal of lowering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in kids who have experienced serious childhood trauma.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic treatment focuses on the psychological causes of emotional pain. The utilization of the interaction between the therapist and patient as a window into problematic interpersonal patterns in the patient’s life, as well as self-reflection and self-examination, are trademarks of this type of therapy.

Get Professional Help Today at Iris Healing

At Iris Healing, for a quick recovery, we put a greater emphasis on providing our clients with the finest treatment plans. We have specialists that are adept at what they do and can assist you in overcoming the effects of your traumatic childhood experiences.

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