The Negative Effects Of Childhood Trauma

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For millions of children in the U.S., poverty, neglect or abuse is a reality of everyday life, though these struggles are often hidden from view. Adult survivors often feel ashamed about and stigmatized for their childhood adversity. This makes it difficult to recognize that these events occur. While it’s easier to turn away than to face these issues, we can no longer afford to do so. Stress, mental illness and substance abuse – all health outcomes linked to childhood trauma – occur in the U.S. today at very high rates. Most would agree that the effects of childhood trauma can impact a child’s life more negatively than positively. While some may argue that the trauma endured has no effect on their future and that most will “just grow out of …show more content…

All experiences change the brain, both good and bad. This is because the brain is designed to change in response to patterned, repetitive stimulation. The stimulation associated with fear and trauma changes the brain. Over the last twenty years, neuroscientists studying the brain have learned how fear and trauma influence the mature brain, and more recently, the developing brain. It is increasingly clear that experiences in childhood has relatively more impact on the developing child than experiences later in life. (Perry) The functional capabilities of the mature brain develop throughout life, but most of critical structural and functional development takes place in childhood. By shaping the developing brain, the experiences of childhood define the adult. Simply stated, children reflect the world in which they are raised. If that world is characterized by threat, chaos, unpredictability, fear and trauma, the brain will reflect that by altering the development of the neural systems involved in the stress and fear response. “The human brain is designed to sense, process, store, perceive, and act on information from the external and the internal environment. These complex systems and activities work together for one overall purpose – survival.”

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that the effects of childhood trauma can impact a child's life more negatively than positively.
  • Explains that childhood trauma can cause serious developmental issues. all experiences change the brain, both good and bad.
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