How does a childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime? Trauma can have a lasting impact on health. It’s not just a matter of getting over the stress of an event and moving on with life. Trauma can affect physical and mental health throughout your life, even if the trauma happened years ago. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it: The right support and treatment can help you recover from traumatic experiences and start enjoying better health now. Here’s what you need to know about how childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime:
Experiencing trauma during childhood can affect long-term physical and psychological health.
You may have heard of the term “wear and tear” before in a different context. For example, if you’re not replacing all of your car’s tires as they wear out, eventually you’ll need to replace the entire wheel because it won’t be able to function properly anymore.
Some experiences during childhood have a long-term impact because they affect the developing brain.
The brain is still developing throughout childhood and into early adulthood, so it’s more vulnerable to trauma during this time. The prefrontal cortex—which controls executive functioning and self-regulation—is one of the last areas of the brain to fully develop, not reaching full maturity until around age 25.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is just one of many possible reactions to trauma.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is just one of many possible reactions to trauma. It’s a type of anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a shocking, scary or dangerous event.
People who have experienced trauma might see their chronic conditions like arthritis or depression worsen.
People who have experienced trauma might see their chronic conditions like arthritis or depression worsen, but this is not just a result of the trauma itself. The brain and body are intimately connected, so when one part of the body is damaged or broken, it can affect other parts as well. “The more we learn about how stress impacts our bodies at a molecular level,” she says, “the more we understand that there is no such thing as an ‘unrelated’ disease.”
Trauma can even lead to persistent physical symptoms, such as migraines, chest pain and stomach problems.
- Physical symptoms can be a sign of trauma.
- Stress hormones (called cortisol and adrenaline) are released in response to stress, whether it’s physical or emotional. These chemicals do many things: they help increase blood sugar levels so you can run away when faced with danger, they increase your heart rate and breathing to make sure you’re ready for action, and they also cause feelings of anxiety or sadness.
Traumatic experiences in childhood can lead to high levels of stress hormones that cause “wear and tear” on the body.
Childhood trauma can lead to high levels of stress hormones that cause “wear and tear” on the body.
These stress hormones include cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This wear-and-tear can result in a weakened immune system and increased risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses.
Experiencing trauma is common and not just limited to victims of abuse or violence.
You may have experienced trauma in your youth, or you may know someone who has. The truth is that experiencing trauma is common and not just limited to victims of abuse or violence. Trauma can be caused by many things—from witnessing a violent crime to living through an accident or natural disaster.
Childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime, but recovery is possible.
As a child, you may have experienced trauma in the form of abuse or neglect. This can have lasting effects on your health for the rest of your life. However, recovery is possible with treatment and support from others. Recovery takes time and effort but it can be made easier with the help of a therapist.
In conclusion, we hope that these findings will encourage people who are experiencing the effects of childhood trauma to seek treatment and support. There is no doubt that your past can affect your present health, but it doesn’t have to be a lifelong burden. With help from friends and family members, some recovery may be possible even after years or decades of suffering through symptoms that could have been avoided if addressed sooner.