Childhood Trauma – High Time to Rewire Your Brain!

Childhood Trauma – High Time to Rewire Your Brain!

Have you ever thought about the kind of person you are right now. Unpredictable events that occurred when you were a child may have had an effect on you. Being the victim in situations such as bullying, physical assault or even parental incarceration can lead to problems related to mental health which may affect your adult life later. All these situations stem from gloomy childhood experiences which may or may not be visible when encountered but eventually leads to trauma. It is a very subjective term; different for every other person. Besides everything depends on the way that person perceives the situation and acts upon it.

Wikipedia describes childhood trauma as a serious adverse childhood experience. Events such as neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, witnessing abuse of a sibling or having a mentally ill parent have profound psychological, physiological or sociological impacts which may lead to negative effects on the mental health. The person experiencing and if not diagnosed, may persist for long period of time.

The person experiencing this may feel backbreaking while attempting day-to-day activities such as talking to people, sleeping, going out etc. This can also lead to major disorders such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), neurodevelopmental disorders, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), adjustment, disorders, reactive attachment disorders, depression or problems related to anxiety. Children between the age of 5 to 8 yrs are more prone for experiencing stressful situations. Since it is the first proper learning stage of human development.

Impact of Childhood Trauma in Different  Aspects of Life:
  • Health: Traumatic experiences during childhood causes stress that increases an individual’s allostatic load affecting the immune, nervous and endocrine system. Adverse health outcomes, including depression, hypertension, and problems related to breathing, often associate with it. The impact of childhood trauma can also hinder an individual’s neurological processing. If any traumatic event occurs during the early stages of brain development.

A person may become stuck in that stage and face difficulties when dealing with adult life. Research has shown that children raised in traumatic or risky family environments. They tend to have excessive internalizing (e.g., social withdrawal, anxiety) or externalizing (e.g., aggressive behavior), and suicidal behavior. Recent research has discovered that physical and sexual abuse are associated with mood and anxiety disorders in adulthood. As adults, emotional abuse is linked with personality disorders and schizophrenia.

  • Psychological processing: If exposed to all the disturbances caused in early life which may affect well-being, one may develop problems such as PTSD, attachment issues, substance abuse or major depression. Living your life in a normal routine while dealing with such hectic disorders can be difficult for the person experiencing and the people around them.
  • Adult life: What we reap is what we sow: dealing with problems that were not meant for you in your childhood may make you a person with some troublesome mind. This can lead to a person feeling anxious, worry, shame, guilt, sadness and anger which may have developed in childhood while coping with different things.
  • Conflicted personal life: Being in peace with your own mind is a high state to achieve. Disagreements with oneself cause problems in other areas of a person’s life, such as relationships and objectives.
Treatment for overcoming it-

There are many therapies that can help you to get better of the trauma faced in the early years of your life such as psychosocial and pharmacological treatments.

  1. Pharmacological treatments: Most studies have shown that the only disorder which can be cured through medications is PTSD. It is the only health effect which can result from childhood trauma. Studies for the effectiveness for other major disorders in this field are still going on.
  2. Psychosocial treatment: These treatments are targeted towards the individual seeking help. It covers quite some therapies, few of them are:
    • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy): The goal of CBT is to help patients change their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes to better control their emotions. It is also used for the patients to deal with trauma and help them in their coping skills.TF-CBT can also be used for treating the same.
    • DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy): DBT has been shown to help prevent self-harm and enhance interpersonal functioning by reducing experiential avoidance and expressed anger through a combination of cognitive behavioural and mindfulness techniques.

Healing from childhood trauma is possible through hard work and support. It often begins with self-discovery and understanding. Confronting your adverse childhood experiences and the ways their effects. It have permeated your life can lead to acceptance and a willingness to continue the healing process. Accepting your past is like taking the first step toward your mental health journey. Some of the habits that one can inculcate in their personal lives and improve their well-being are as follows:

  1. Find new people: Living in the same environment which gave you issues will not help even if you try to change yourself from within. This will help them in achieving their goal.
  2. Instil exercise in daily routine: Doing exercise daily may help you to achieve your mental state. Activities such as yoga, meditation, and eating a healthy diet can help.
  3. Practice mindfulness: Being aware of your surroundings and of yourself may help in knowing the triggers. Which were causing the problem before and learning to cope up with them now.
Message to the parents:

Different parenting styles produce distinct children. It may turn out someone completely different in their adulthood but the roots are deeply tied into childhood experiences only. You may have been living or rather surviving this generational curse as a child but now as a “parent”, you can put a full stop to it. There are times when we cannot escape from the demanding situations. Some virtual reality which may lead to some problems but we can for sure change the way how it can be perceived for our next generation. Giving your child a safe space so that they can find comfort without becoming baggage for you. India being a collectivistic culture country, may find it difficult to understand. The importance of the value of people individually but slowly we can achieve it.

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