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.”
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An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today (Darness2Light, 2009a ). This figure continues to grow daily as perpetrators of this crime continue in this destructive path. The definition of child sexual abuse is the force, coercion, or cajoling of children into sexual activities by a dominant adult or adolescent. Sexual abuse of children includes touching (physical) sexually including: fondling; penetration (vaginal or anal using fingers, foreign objects or offenders organs; oral sex, or non-physical contact including: sexual comments; indecent exposures; masturbating in a child’s presence; child prostitution or child pornography (Child Welfare, 2009a).
Greeson et al. point out that many children in foster care “have histories of recurrent interpersonal trauma perpetuated by caregivers early in life (2010).” They identify this as complex trauma. This may include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect or domestic violence. This study included 2,251 foster children who were referred for treatment. Of those youth 70.4% reported two or more of the forms of complex trauma abuse, and 11.7% reported all five types. Every child in custody has experienced some form of trauma. At the very least they have been through the traumatic experience of being uprooted from the home they know and placed somewhere new, with people they don’t know. Even if they are being taken from a terrible, abusive environment, that is still their family and they are being torn away. The authors point out that children in custody do not receive the most exhaustive mental health screenings possible, so instead we end up treating the most visible symptoms instead of screening trauma exposure and trauma-related symptoms. Time and resources are inevitably spent treating problems that are actually symptoms secondary to trauma experiences and PTSD.
Psychology researchers have conducted many case studies and have spent countless hours reviewing case studies that have already been done to try to find the answer to the question, does childhood trauma cause and effect the symptoms of patients with psychological disorders such as Schizophrenia and Psychosis, or can the trauma cause a patient to have Schizophrenia or Psychosis. Many case studies’ findings state that there is a link. Some studies say only certain symptoms are affected. I want to know what symptoms are affected and what kind of childhood trauma could have possibly affected the symptoms of patients who have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Psychosis, or if the childhood trauma could have caused a patient‘s mental illness.
Studies about early childhood development indicate that the brain develops in response to experiences with caregivers, family and the community, and that its development is directly linked to the quality and quantity of those experiences. Meeting a child’s needs during these early stages creates emotional stability and security that is needed for healthy brain development. Repeated exposure to stressful events can affect the brain’s stress response, making it more reactive and less adaptive. With time a child may react as if danger is always present in their environment regardless of what the presenting situation actually
As we look into the effects of trauma on infants, we first must consider to what extent infants have memory. Many people assume that trauma cannot affect children who are too young to remember what happened. Perhaps, they even think that these infants are lucky because they experienced trauma so young that they grow up as if nothing had ever happened. However, studies show that we may need to think beyond our intuition.
Today child neglect is the largest part of child abuse in the United States, and almost two-thirds of all reported cases in child protective services is neglect (Dubowitz). Before the 1970’s child abuse mostly referred to physical abuse; however, now it encompasses physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as neglect (Compton’s). Physical abuse is when a child is hurt by getting hit, punched, kicked, or any other form of beating by an adult (Compton’s). This abuse will only harm the child physically and though it is horrific and can lead to long term effects it will normally only lead to violence. Emotional abuse is when an adult is hateful to the child by calling him names, and another form of emotional abuse is when an adult is punishing a child in a way that will cause him mental trauma (Compton’s). Emotional abuse is terrible for the child’s self-esteem however they can go and learn that they are important to the world by their contributions. Sexual abuse is when a child is touched inappropriately or molested (Compton’s). This is detrimental to a child but in most cases the child will block this out for when they grow older it is like it never happened which will cause no harm to their mental state. Neglect is when an adult will not seek medical help for their child and will not provide them with food, shelter, clothing, or emotional support (Sullivan). This is where the real trauma takes place on a child. The child will not suffer from being hit but they suffer from starving until someone is kind enough to feed them or they die from malnutrition. The child will not suffer from a parent calling them names but they might never know if their parent knows their name or cares to even speak to th...
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are the extremely traumatic events that take place in an individual’s childhood that negatively affect their future attempts to succeed in life. ACEs include enduring physical and verbal abuse, living in dysfunction and over exposure to violent and criminal behavior. It was determined that children who are in the child welfare system are more likely to suffer ACEs and develop physical and mental health issues as well as engage in risky behavior (Brown & Shillington, 2017); children who suffer ACEs also have lower self-efficacy than other children. In all of the research prior to this study, much of the focus was on the psychological and behavioral outcomes of ACEs and what children were more susceptible to them. The problem that the researchers in this study have identified is that in no prior research has anyone
There are several domains that must be considered when treating a survivor of child abuse: the need for safety and trust, sense of belonging, protection from perceived or actual threats, facing the defendant in court, prevention of revictimization, and empowerment (Sawyer & Judd, 2012). Davis, 2005, states that “children terrorized through sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse, or wartime atrocities may suffer from lasting wounds, nightmares, depression, and troubled adolescence involving substance abuse, binge eating, or aggression.” Victims of child abuse need to regain their sense of control over their lives. Experiencing healthy relationships, being nurtured by adults and helping them to learn resilience are all interventions that have been well-documented (Sawyer & Judd, 2...
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 effects.” (The National Institute of Mental Health). Childhood trauma is an epidemic that seems to be running its way throughout the world. Childhood trauma is a worldwide problem that can affect anyone and everyone. People tend to just try and help the problems that occur due to the childhood trauma, but not the problem itself. Many of these issues will also follow the child into their adult years and will cause negative effects. This paper will discuss the negative outcomes for a child who suffers from childhood trauma, and the negative outcomes that can follow them into adulthood.
Every year, millions of children world wide endure some form of abuse. Without receiving help for the trauma, these children grow into adults with a past that inhibits them from thriving in society. While a minority do not show lasting signs of abuse, majority are too scarred by the experience to recover from it. Adults who suffered from physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse as children suffer from a multitude of disorders, such as OCD, psychosis, and depression in the later stages of life, hindering success in society.
Infurna, Crystal T. Rivers, John Reich, and Alex J. Zautra zone in on the effects of childhood trauma and declines of health. Childhood trauma is associated with premature declines health in midlife and old age due to “less emotional support and more strain in social relationships in adult life” (2015, pg. 1). When childhood trauma goes unresolved or inappropriately resolved, it is triggered during adulthood it has a negative effect on the health of individuals. Utilizing a data from the ASU Live Project, 782 participants participated in the study for 30 days. The conclusion of the study showed that childhood trauma “lead to poorer health in midlife through disturbances in the patterns of everyday life events and responses to those events” (Infurna et al, 2015, p. 17). Child trauma having occurred throughout these participants lives limited their capabilities of social development throughout life because they were more prone to stressors and daily life disturbances throughout
The psychological effects of trauma on behavior and personality are closely related. If a person has a traumatic experience in life, the mind can go through some changes to protect that person from themselves and the scarred memories that they’ve experienced. For example, a child that has been physically abused could develop a disorder that would not allow them to become close to people in general (Joel 1998). The trustworthiness of everyone that the victim came in contact with would be questioned regardless if they deemed people friend, foe, or family. Everyone would be a potential threat and the victim of the physical abuse would rather seclude themselves.
Childhood molestation is more common than the average person may think. My cousins and I were molested by my grandfather as children and some, even as teenagers. The trauma of being molested has caused me to be angry for a long time. It effected my childhood and my teenage years. This childhood trauma still continues to effect me in my adult life and my personal relationships. Being molested as a child was the worst thing to ever happen to me.
The effects of child abuse are multiple. The pain and trauma the abused child goes through is just a small part of how this cauldron of hidden depravity in our society affects all of us. Wrecked lives can be seen in persons of all ages and in all walks of life. Society as a whole is also effected by child abuse both in negative and positive ways. In this essay I will present some of the factor and results of this violent behavior on individuals as well as our culture.