Childhood trauma is often misunderstood, but events that happen to us when we’re young, especially violent or abusive events, shape us and continue to impact our lives into adulthood. Many of us have sustained childhood trauma, but not all of us recognize when we do. Importantly, we may feel that we don’t have the tools to heal from it. Recovering from child trauma is vital to living in peace.

What Constitutes Early Childhood Trauma?

The psychological term for trauma is PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a condition that results when people have been the victim of or witnessed a traumatic event.
Types of trauma can manifest in physical, mental, and emotional ways. The experience can last minutes, days, months, or even years. Thus, no two people with PTSD have the exact cause, symptoms, and path to recovery. Early childhood trauma is any type of traumatic event that occurred during one’s formative years. Typically, anything up to the age of 8.

Consequences of PTSD

PTSD is severe, and it’s not something we should forgo treatment for. The effects can interrupt our lives in small or large ways. PTSD can be a thorn in our sides for decades after the event happened, even after physical wounds have healed.

We might react adversely to a particular type of event, even if it’s harmless. Or, PTSD might manifest as an inability to function on a day-to-day basis, from work to personal life. Sadly, we may not realize that PTSD is the origin of particular behaviors.

Here are a few common symptoms of childhood PTSD:

  • Upsetting and intrusive thoughts
  • Vivid flashbacks of traumatic experiences
  • Avoidance of trauma reminders
  • A heightened emotional and physical state
  • Fractured recollection of the traumatic experience
  • Unhealthy worldviews and beliefs

Again, it’s important to note that we all experience PTSD in different ways. For some, it creates a visceral, debilitating set of symptoms that make everyday life impossible. For others, we suffer “minor” side effects that do little to impede our function.

Examples of Childhood Trauma

Traumatic experiences depend on the individual. What is traumatic for us might not be traumatic for someone else. A few common instances of childhood abuse include:

  • Physical abuse, such as domestic punitive beatings
  • Sexual abuse
  • Violence
  • Loss of a loved one
  • War or terrorism-inflicted experiences

Although these experiences happen early in development, we retain them for a long time. Many early childhood traumatic victims suffer the effects well into adulthood.

The Challenge With Childhood Trauma

There’s a false perception that children can rebound from trauma with ease. We see them fall and get back up again without missing a beat. Children’s bodies heal faster, so, therefore, we assume their minds do as well. It’s important to deconstruct this idea, as it prevents us from getting the needed therapy for trauma. We may be able, as children, to walk away from adverse childhood experiences. That doesn’t mean, though, that they won’t rear their heads later.

How to Heal From Childhood Trauma

We must seek help if we believe we are victims of early childhood trauma. It is just as valid as any other type of PTSD-inducing event or experience. Strategies to overcome childhood trauma include:

Acknowledge the Trauma

It’s common for people living with PTSD to deny the events or suppress the memories. We may even discount or minimize what happened to avoid pain and guilt. Acknowledgment is the first step.

Take Back Control

It’s important not to let what happened control the present, making us into “perpetual victims.” Taking back control comes in many forms. We might change our coping mechanisms and cut out unhealthy thought patterns.

Get Support

Many of us choose to isolate by instinct. We keep the pain to ourselves, feeling that it would be a burden for others. Keeping everything in is a mistake, one that only prevents those wounds from healing. We have to get comfortable with confiding in those we trust. These could be family members, close friends, or even support groups. We should also overcome our anxiety about working with a licensed mental health professional.

Focus on Health

Physical and mental health often decline as a result of PTSD. We eat worse, sleep less, and neglect to take care of our necessary medical routines. Having good physical health has a direct correlation with our mental health and our healing.

Build Good Habits

PTSD leads us to acquire bad coping habits, such as using substances. Developing healthy coping mechanisms means replacing bad habits with good ones. For example, instead of relying on alcohol as a crutch, we might turn to meditation or outdoor retreats.

Get Professional Help

Even with a solid group of friends and healthy lifestyle practices, professional help is vital. Professionals have studied for years how to unravel these problems and rebuild a person.

Heal With Comprehensive Wellness Centers

Early childhood trauma may have happened long ago, but its effects can last a lifetime. This form of PTSD can be just as ugly as experiences in adulthood. Comprehensive Wellness Centers can help people recover from PTSD, including early childhood trauma and its long-term adverse effects. Start the journey to recovery by verifying insurance here.