Childhood Trauma and Its Negative Effects
The effects of childhood trauma can not only impact you now, but also into the future. There’s enough evidence out there to show that children who have experienced trauma or some form of abuse have a harder time bouncing back from negative experiences in adulthood. All sorts of negative thoughts and feelings may be causing similar mental health problems and dysfunctional thinking processes that are just starting to manifest themselves for many people.
Wondering how childhood trauma and its consequences might show up later on? It may very well occur sooner than you’d think. Being able to identify the symptoms in your loved ones may help them develop into chronic abusers and avoidable victims.
More Frequent Seasonal Depression
We all know that depression is prevalent in our society. Childhood trauma or abuse can actually cause depression at an earlier age. Also, many secondary symptoms of depression such as anxiety, reduced quality of life, agitation, and social withdrawal may occur in children as well.
In a recent study, it was found that 56 percent of adult couples are affected by intimate partner abuse. If you do have depression or relationship problems, the child abuse and trauma has left you with deep buried issues that are helping to contribute to these issues.
Insomnia and Morning Waking
Both adults and children who experienced childhood trauma or abuse are more likely to experience insomnia or sluggish mornings. Both suffer from sleep disturbance and wake up feeling exhausted.
Not only do people who have experienced childhood trauma or abuse become addicted to nicotine, but they are at higher risk for nicotine addiction than the general population. The former struggles with negative thoughts and patterns of thought compared to those who are not living with negative thoughts and patterns of thought.
Also called “physical traumas,” psychosomatic symptoms are physical symptoms you experience that can be caused by a traumatic event or external stressors that may be intrusive and seem to come and go in a disconnected way. Feeling run down or tired a lot of the time because you’re just too tired to go to sleep is common. Other signs of psychosomatic symptoms can include facial acne, stomach aches, headaches, low energy, headaches, insomnia, stomach bloating, and migraines.
Changes in immune function
In some of the most severe cases of trauma, it can have a lasting effect on the immune system. Recent studies have shown an increase in various types of adult inflammatory markers when people have been abused or injured as kids.
Depending on the extent of trauma you have been through, your nightmares may be more frequent and more extreme than the average individual. Even if these nightmares are limited to you only having awful nightmares and not as widespread as you feared they would be, it could still have consequences for you in the future. Psychologists may suggest treatment methods for night terrors such as cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy.
Depression and Substance Abuse
As part of the study, researchers looked at people in the US living with a history of childhood trauma. In a recent study, 3.9 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 suffered from mental health issues. More than half of them reported struggles with depression. Addictive behaviors such as alcohol, drugs, or gambling have shown to be common among people who have experienced psychological or emotional trauma.
Adults who have had persistent psychological distress have higher rates of poor mental health compared to those who were not suffering. Symptoms such as anxiety, difficulty sleeping, increased irritability, and heavy crying are also more common. In this study, nearly one-third of adults who had suffered from emotional or psychological trauma were also extremely depressed.
Preventing this type of trauma and developing strategies that promote healing can save you a lot of time and energy, along with avoiding years of negative emotional and physical effects that have a negative impact on your mental health and the quality of your life.
© 2018 Ki Sung Kim is a Nigerian-born graduate student studying psychology and criminal justice at the University of California at Irvine. A polyglot conversant in English, French, and Spanish, he moved to Southern California in February 2017.