Study: Childhood Trauma Is Harmful To Adult's Mental Health

Study: Childhood Trauma Is Harmful To Adult's Mental Health

Adults experiencing poor physical and mental health could be because of several reasons such as financial constraints, poor academic performance, less career opportunities because of insufficient qualifications or skills, habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, etc. But, as the recent study examining 409 adults of age 60 and above with a history of trauma during their childhood published in the journal ‘Aging and Health Research’ by Toronto University, childhood trauma gained attention as the causation factor of deteriorating physical and mental health in adults. It contributes to excessive pain and chronic physical illnesses in adults. They also have twice the risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression compared to adults who haven’t experienced any physical abuse in their childhood.

Trauma experienced during childhood not only affects one’s childhood but would manifest in several ways in adolescence and adulthood. It affects their physical and mental health. First of all, the memory of the abuse could be repressed and the consequences wouldn’t be accounted to the early experience of trauma, but in most cases, individuals are stuck with their memory, how it felt, the fear associated with the event, and the abuser, and if they were any repeated or continuous incidents of trauma. Every other activity is determined by the anxiety the trauma left them with. They would be socially isolated and frightened by closed spaces, dark rooms, or crowded places. They would also develop trust issues, or become too dependent in relationships to compensate for their insecurities. They may indulge in alcohol consumption or substance use to divert them from the work. They may also take an excessive absence from their school or work as an escape from intrusive thoughts. They would be triggered by the smallest of instances that remind them of the abuse. For those, who have repressed their memories, the pain presents itself as anxiety or panic attacks and the therapists help them to bring out their repressed memories, address them and treat them. They also caused physical illnesses such as diabetes due to an imbalance in blood sugar, tumors, bone tuberculosis and arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, and migraines.

The adults often don’t consult any professionals sooner, but it is advisable to seek expert help once any symptoms are deducted because counseling would help them manage the symptoms and face the consequences of their childhood trauma in an effective manner. Childhood trauma disrupts homeostasis, physiologically affects the bodily systems, and affects the level of cortisol secreted. It also causes anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and it could be treated by psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. The research, however, couldn’t find out what links childhood trauma and deteriorating physical and mental health in adulthood. Further research into the field might yield prospective results.

The most common trauma and stressor-related disorders include reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and disinhibitive social engagement disorder (DSED) in children primarily characterized by social neglect, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and acute stress disorder (ASD) characterized by recurrent experiences, amplified arousal and avoidance of negative thoughts, and adjustment disorders characterized by maladaptive attachment patterns. 

About the Author

Janani Vaiyapuriappan
Clinical Psychology Aspirant.

I am a passionate writer right from the years I found my love for the expression of words. My passion for writing initially began with writing essa

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