Childhood is the time of our lives filled with play, learning and fun, or so it should be. But for some, it can also be filled with trauma, neglect, abuse and suffering. It is true that our childhood experiences shape us as adults, so any negativity experienced can lead to psychological issues that affect our lives as grown-ups. Here’s more about how negative experiences during your childhood might be affecting you as an adult, and what you can do about it.
Some think that overcoming childhood trauma is only a matter of moving on and getting over it, but that’s not how it works. It affects our personality, our habits, and behaviors as adults, leading to chronic physical and mental health problems. Not all childhood trauma involves abuse or wrong behavior towards a child. Sometimes trauma can stem from experiencing the loss of a loved one, or a parenting style that simply doesn’t suit a child’s personality.
Whatever negative experiences you experienced during childhood, they may still be affecting you today. Here are some of the ways and reasons this may be happening, and what you can do to overcome it.
Trauma in childhood can lead to several mental illnesses. Research suggests that conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and attachment disorders have roots in childhood trauma. Children who experience neglect, abuse, or other traumatic events have a higher chance of their brain developing differently than it ought to, leading to mental illness later in life.
If you are suffering mental illness due to childhood trauma, it’s important to see a medical professional to get a diagnosis. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can help you cope with the issues. Lifestyle changes can include exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that can help with the healing process.
Substance Abuse and Addiction
As children, we develop coping mechanisms to deal with the trauma we experience. However, if we had no healthy ways to process or cope with the trauma, we may turn to substance abuse to escape the pain. This youthful experimentation can result in addiction, hence limiting our adult life’s potential.
If you’re addicted to a substance, it’s important to get help. There are plenty of resources out there, and it’s key to find something that suits you. You may want to go to a rehabilitation center, such as the well known facility for addiction treatment in Arizona. Or you might find that support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or lifestyle changes are more suitable for you.
A stable and nurturing relationship with our caregiver is essential to regulate our emotions and develop healthy coping skills. However, when our caregivers neglect or abuse us, we can develop an attachment disorder. This disorder affects our ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, trust others, and regulate our emotions. This can manifest itself in various ways, such as being overly clingy or avoiding intimacy.
If you suffer from an attachment disorder due to childhood trauma, it’s important to seek help. Talk therapy and CBT are two treatments that have proven effective in improving attachment issues.
Childhood trauma can lead to personality disorders in adulthood. These conditions hinder an individual’s personal and professional life by affecting their behavior, beliefs, and emotions. Some of these conditions include Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Some of the symptoms of these disorders include difficulty in forming relationships, impulsivity, and reckless behavior.
If you think you might be suffering from a personality disorder due to childhood trauma, it’s important to seek professional help. A qualified therapist can assess the issues and provide treatment, such as CBT or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT involves learning skills to help manage emotions and regulate behavior, and the tools learned can be applied to many kinds of situations you might encounter in life.
Physical Health Problems
During childhood, the stress of traumatic events gets stored in the body. The resulting stress changes the way our body functions, affecting our immune and digestive systems, leading to health problems in the long run. Exposure to childhood trauma can also put us at a higher risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. You may also experience physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
If you think your current health issues are connected to childhood trauma, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help you identify and treat any physical health problems associated with the trauma. There are specially designed health questionnaires to help you get to the root of your physical health problems.
Low Self-Esteem and Poor Self-Image
Negative experiences from our childhood can have a lasting impact on our self-esteem and self-image. It’s not uncommon for those who experienced childhood trauma to have low self-esteem and a poor body image. This can lead to negative feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, and anxiety, and can significantly affect our relationships.
If you’re struggling with low self-esteem or poor body image due to childhood trauma, it’s important to seek professional help. CBT and DBT can be used to help people learn how to manage their emotions and regulate behavior. Alternatively, mindfulness-based therapy can help you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, reducing anxiety and helping to build a positive self-image.
Recovering From Childhood Trauma
No matter what kind of childhood trauma you experienced, it’s important to get help. Whether you need therapy or medication, there are plenty of resources available to help you recover from the trauma. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, as it can make all the difference in your life. You don’t have to suffer through the pain alone any longer. With the right help and support, you can start to heal from childhood trauma and move forward in life with confidence.
As outlined in this blog, childhood trauma can significantly affect one’s life as an adult. The capacity to face challenges, build and maintain relationships, and thrive in society diminishes when the aftermath of childhood trauma is left untreated. Therefore, it is crucial to advocate for and seek adequate resources to heal and raise awareness on how childhood trauma affects one’s life.