Introduction: Childhood trauma looks completely different in different people as they have different situations. But basically, it refers to the trauma when a child hears, experiences or witnesses a dangerous or threatening situation.
Every trauma is different. Something can be traumatic for a person but can be totally normal for another person. Traumatic childhood incidents can lead to different reactions and cause PTSD which refers to post-traumatic stress disorder but it is crucial to understand that not every kind of trauma leads to the treatment of PTSD.
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Table of Contents
Causes of Childhood Trauma:
The development of post-traumatic stress disorder depends upon various factors such as, whether or not the child has a protective and safe environment.But anyone can develop this disorder. Traumatic incidents might be a series of events or might be an isolated incident that can lead to trauma in adulthood. Traumatic experiences can include living with a mentally ill caretaker or parent, ragging or bullying in school, racism in communities, loss of a loved one, violence at school or home, terrorism, or domestic violence.
Symptoms of Childhood Trauma:
There is an abundance of children suffering from their childhood traumas in the society and the signs and symptoms can totally vary. Hence, it is the responsibility of the caretaker, guardian, or the parent to observe their children carefully, and notice minute changes in their daily behaviors, eating and sleeping patterns, academic performances, and especially after the life-changing events after which the probability of traumas increases.
Some of the common symptoms found in the children with trauma include avoidance of certain things, places, or people, degradation in academic performances, low concentration, changed behavior, constant anxiety or worry, hyperactivity, overreaction to normal situations, not having fun in activities which they used to enjoy earlier, isolation from peers and family, increased feelings of sadness, disturbed sleeping patterns, volatile emotions. The response to trauma can vary from child to child, based on their age, characteristics, support system, development level, and experiences.
Childhood Trauma Prevailing in Adults:
Signs of prevailing childhood trauma in adults include lack of trust in other people, mood swings, aggression, anger, issues with concentration, attention, and focus, and poor, chaotic, and unfulfilling relationships. With professional treatment or maturity, some people are able to recover and deal with their childhood trauma but other people still get influenced by unwanted events and grow with such traumatic feelings.
Ill Effects of Childhood Trauma:
If not treated or addressed, childhood trauma can have a huge effect on various aspects of the life of children including physical, emotional, and personal life. childhood trauma can lead to other various mental disorders or psychological conditions such as bipolar disorders, substance use disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety issues, etc. Most childhood traumas include a family member or a trusted caregiver. These incidents can lead to the deterioration of the feelings of safety, security, and trust. People with such a past can find it hard to maintain new or old relationships.
Traumatic experiences have a disastrous impact on learning and lead to the academic degradation of most children. Children can run from studying and homework and avoid lectures. Students might start disrespecting their teachers or their parents. childhood trauma can have a long-lasting impact on children physically as well. Traumas can also lead to heart disease, cancer, or suicidal conditions in the sufferer. The impact of childhood trauma can be direct and indirect and are endless. For instance, a sufferer of childhood trauma can be poor in academics and later on become a school dropout, which leads to unemployment in the future, which will cause financial problems, more anxiety, and critical situations. Trauma not only affects the sufferer but indirectly also impacts the people associated with the victim.
Treatment of Children Suffering From Childhood Trauma:
The optimal way to help the children with childhood trauma is to seek professional help from a psychologist or therapist. Parents must make sure that the therapist is keenly focusing on the mental health of the child and the child must also be encouraged for the regular therapy sessions.
Some of the common therapies are CFTSI which refers to the child and family traumatic stress intervention. The goal of this therapy is to deal with symptoms of post-traumatic stress along with communication with guardians and giving them coping strategies for their children. Next is CPT, which is cognitive processing therapy, its main goal is to assist the client in decreasing the traumatic thoughts. Another one is NET, which refers to narrative exposure therapy. This focuses on reframing trauma in a way that permits someone to contextualize traumatic events for decreasing the power which trauma has in the life of the child.
Change in Lifestyle:
Some non-professional ways to deal with childhood trauma include lifestyle changes. Parents must take care that the child is getting enough sleep and must practice some relaxation techniques such as positive affirmations, visualization, and breathing techniques. The child must be taken in nature and get some physical workout. The diet of the child should be full of healthy products and they must be given assurance that they are loved and supported and are not alone in their battle of life.
Role of the Parents & the Teachers:
Parents must also educate themselves on the theme of trauma and how to deal with it. Medications for the child should be given to him on time along with collaboration with the school teacher for the creation of a positive environment for the child in which he does not feel stressed at all. Last but not the least, the trust of the child should be won so that he is loved and no burden of academics or anything should be imposed on him because he is not in a condition to deal with any other mental stress more than the already existing chaos in his mind.