Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma can manifest in a variety of ways, some of which are avoidance, anxiety, depression, mood dysregulation, anger, problems with trust, self-destructive behaviours, withdrawal or challenges maintaining daily functioning.

Those who have experienced childhood trauma, which can be in the form of violence, physical neglect, emotional, physical abuse or sexual abuse, are at a higher risk of brain and nervous system disturbance, and an increase in health risks; e.g. smoking, eating disorders, substance use, and high-risk activities.

Childhood Trauma

If you are exploring whether you have suffered childhood trauma, you may be experiencing signs such as feelings of detachment, lack of a peer group, and difficulty in being emotionally present.

Trauma can be a short-term experience with symptoms occurring as soon after the event.  Alternatively, you may have been experiencing symptoms for years following the trauma, this is called PTSD. 

PTSD is the term used for those who are suffering from the long-term effects of experiencing trauma such as:

  • Upsetting thoughts, flashbacks, or nightmares about the event.
  • Avoiding places, sensory overload, or people who remind you of the trauma.
  • Numbing of general responsiveness to situations.
  • Increased irritability and hypervigilance – (being on high alert).
  • Problems sleeping.

You may also be experiencing intense distress or symbolic reminders of the trauma, or physical sensations such as pain, trembling or nausea which can be the reality for those who have PTSD.

Some people can live with PTSD for years without realising it.

When left untreated, the psychological symptoms of PTSD are likely to worsen over time, potentially damaging not only your health but also your relationships and your ability to work.

Along with severe depression and anxiety, other serious outcomes may include increased suicidal ideation. You may also have problems managing your anger, aggression or substance misuse.

However, it is important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event necessarily goes on to develop PTSD.

PTSD is a complicated psychological condition that requires early intervention and treatment. If you have experienced childhood trauma or suspect you have PTSD, seeking professional help as soon as possible is advised.

You can take steps in managing PTSD by seeking professional help from a counsellor and following a treatment plan.  In addition, you can try the following to make treatment more effective:

  • Engage in activities to reduce stress; e.g. exercise and mindfulness practices.
  • Trying to maintain routines for meals, exercise, and sleep.
  • Spending time with family or friends, making them aware of things that might trigger your PTSD symptoms.
  • Avoiding drugs or alcohol if these are a problem.