Ideally, your childhood would have been a time full of joy and wonder. However, for some, it is full of physical, emotional or other types of abuse that can cause problems that last well into adulthood. Childhood trauma may increase the risk of mental illness and the risk of engaging in risky behaviors such as drug or alcohol abuse. Let’s take a closer look at how childhood trauma affects adulthood and what you can do to cope if you experienced abuse during your youth.
The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Mental Illness
Those exposed to violence, sexual assault, or other types of trauma during their formative years were more likely to experience mental health issues as adults. For example, they were more likely to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They also were more likely to suffer from lower self-esteem or to harm themselves. Children and teens were also likely to experience symptoms of other childhood trauma disorders, such as actuate stress disorder (ASD), a short-term response to stressful situations.
How Childhood Trauma Affects Adulthood
Trauma from childhood can significantly impact a person’s life as an adult. For instance, those subject to sexual abuse may have a more challenging time being intimate with their partners. A victim with low self-esteem may drop out of high school or fail to seek a college degree.
This may have a negative impact on their ability to earn money, which may cause trauma victims to fall further into a depressive state.
In some cases, those impacted by childhood trauma disorders may work too hard to obtain the approval of others. Ultimately, they may enter into relationships with people who don’t respect their boundaries or engage in abusive behavior toward those who have already been victimized.
What Types of Childhood Trauma Can Have Long-Term Impacts?
Any type of traumatic situation can have a long-term impact on an individual. Therefore, whether you were touched inappropriately by a relative or were constantly criticized or put down by your parents, you may be dealing with the fallout of other people’s actions for years to come.
It’s important to note that almost anything a child finds distressing may be considered trauma, even if it may not seem like a big deal to an outsider. Understanding childhood trauma can take many different forms may make it easier for victims to realize that what happened to them wasn’t their fault. It may also make it possible for abusers to know why what they did wasn’t appropriate so that they can start to make amends for their actions.
Strategies That Can Be Used to Cope with Childhood Trauma
There are many strategies that may be used to help overcome childhood trauma and the associated mental illness. For example, engaging in individual or group therapy sessions may be beneficial where you can speak freely and honestly about your experiences. Doing so may enable you to discover people, places, or other items that may serve as trauma triggers. Identifying these triggers may help you avoid situations that might increase your risk of engaging in unhealthy behaviors.
In addition, it may be beneficial to take medication to help with the symptoms of anxiety or depression. These symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, difficulty eating or constant feelings of self-doubt. If you previously engaged in drug or alcohol use, medication may help to ease withdrawal or other symptoms related to a dependency on those substances.
If you experienced any kind of trauma during your formative years, it’s important to acknowledge your experiences and seek help addressing them. The folks at Cypress Lakes Lodge are ready to provide help that is tailored to your needs and can give you the best opportunity to ensure that your past doesn’t sabotage your future.