To deal with a grieving, hurt child due to circumstances out of their control is a hard pill to swallow. How can you explain traumatic experiences to a young child? How can their innocent minds make sense of all that has happened? Though it might be a challenge to help a child overcome trauma, the latter consequences might be just as challenging to overcome.

Childhood trauma has an impact far greater than the immediate response

Recent studies suggest that traumatic experiences result in more than just a bad memory to get over. Trauma causes physical and mental changes in a person’s body, impacting emotions and behaviors. A study, done by researchers at the University of Texas, found teens that experienced neglect in childhood had connectivity problems in several brain areas caused by a reduction in white matter, impacting planning behavior and regulating emotions.

Verbalizing emotions from trauma

An even greater problem arises when the traumatic experience occurs before a person learns verbal expression. If there was abuse while a child was still too young to comprehend or remember what was going on, as a teen they might not have the ability to process their emotions.

The many causes of trauma

Traumatic experiences are different for everyone, based on their own perceptions and feelings. What might seem like a normal, but unfortunate part of life, such as damage to your home from a hurricane, could be having a much greater impact on your son or daughter who has never experienced such a storm before. Childhood trauma might derive from (but is not limited to):

  • Divorce
  • Death in the family
  • Neglect
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Health concerns
  • Natural disasters
  • Financial instability

Childhood trauma and addiction

The continued non-treatment of trauma pushes people to live in a state of hyper vigilance, suppression of emotions and inhibition of feelings. – Aspen Education Group

As with many overwhelming emotions, teens that have difficulty overcoming childhood trauma turn to substances as a way to cope. They might not be able to understand their feelings or might think that no one else would understand. The drugs and or alcohol temporarily release their anxiety and stress.
When helping teens with addiction, it is important to understand the impact life experiences have had on them. Treating the addiction without addressing the emotions from childhood trauma will result in relapse.

Physical impact

Though you might know how stress in adults leads to weight gain, some studies suggest that children who experience traumatic events tend to be overweight.

The number of negative events that has happened in a child’s life predicted the likelihood that the child would be overweight in adolescence. – Dr. Julie Lumeng, University of Michigan’s Medical School

Just as adults stress-eat, so do children. A holistic treatment that promotes overall mental and physical health is always best when providing therapy to teens.
For as many children who experience trauma, there are just as many impacts that trauma can have. The emotional and physical results of traumatic experiences can manifest in numerous ways.

To help your teen heal from their past and move toward a brighter future, call blueFire today at 844-413-1999.


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