According to the National Institute of Mental Health, childhood trauma is defined as “The experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effect.” Childhood trauma has great and significant psychological and physiological effects which can cause negative impacts on the ability to perform normally. There several events that may happen to a child; some are more recognizable, like the death of a parent or physical abuse. However, there are certain events that are not obviously recognized as possible causes of childhood trauma; examples of these include violence at home, drug abuse by parents, or neglect. These traumatic experiences during childhood can cause social and emotional impairment later on in life.
There can be difficulty in diagnosing childhood trauma because in most cases, all that is evident are emotional and psychological effects that are product of a traumatic childhood experience. These emotional problems tend to manifest years after the situation is experienced, it becomes hard to trace the negative emotional consequences to whatever experience incited them. In most cases, there is some anxiety and the need to go through therapy to find the root of problem, but it can also be self diagnosed. Whether it is self diagnosed or diagnosed by a psychotherapist, the healing process for childhood trauma usually involves:
Recognition and acceptance of the trauma
Denial is very common in trauma victims; some people even pretend that the traumatic events they experienced didn’t happen. The healing process can never start until you acknowledge the traumatic event. It is after the trauma has been recognized and accepted that the healing process can begin.
An acceptance and acknowledgement of trauma doesn’t mean you are responsible for the trauma, what it means is that you have accepted to face it and tackle it. Let go of bad memories and emotions
Due to a childhood experience, sadness, fear and vulnerability can remain with a person from childhood till adulthood. These emotions can make such person feel unsafe and act like a victim; this cause the person to make choices based on these emotions. Reclaiming control of your emotions may be quite difficult, if you feel you cannot do it alone, a therapist will help you through the process of developing self control and healing.
Interaction with people
Trauma victims are naturally prone to isolating themselves; the only thing this does is make things worse. A very important part of the healing process is to interact will people. If you are going through therapy, your therapist will always stress this particular point. Do not be afraid to relate with people, talk to friends and family, meet new people, or you can even join a support group for childhood trauma survivors. With time you will get better.
Personal health care
Stress, drugs and alcohol can further complicate symptoms of childhood trauma. Develop lifestyle changes that will have positive impact on your health; eat balanced diet, get plenty of rest, and take part in physical exercise regularly.