Childhood Trauma Essay 2

Submitted By ilmnow
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Childhood Trauma
Tonya Barber
Liberty University

Trauma can occur to anyone at any time through many different acts, those that are caused by nature, by other humans, or by oneself. The age of a person when they experience trauma, as well as their ability to process it can affect how deeply the event(s) impact them and affect their long term wellbeing. One population that is very vulnerable to trauma are children, due to their still developing brain and coping skills they are often left with long term effects from traumatic events. One of the most frequent forms of childhood trauma is psychological maltreatment. It happens through both intentional and unintentional manners from those who children are around. Psychological maltreatment is often difficult to identify, complicated to treat, and likely to leave a lasting imprint on the child both psychologically as well as physically. The psychological maltreatment is not shown physically in terms of seeing a child with broken bones and bruising or cuts, instead the physical aspect of psychological maltreatment is much more difficult to see (Feldman, 2014). Instead, a child’s actual brain structure is physically altered and the effects are not visible to the eye. When we experience stress (good or bad) our body has a chemical reaction to it, when this is prolonged there becomes permanent changes. A child who is always experiencing psychological abuse (name calling, belittling, instilling fear through words and implied actions, eroding a child’s sense of safety and self-esteem) is going to be constantly producing the chemical effects that occur during fight or flight. These constant stressors produce changes in the child’s limbic system which has direct control over the ability to utilize memory and to regulate emotions (Lakshminarasimhan, H., & Chattarji, S. 2012). Prolonged child abuse trauma can lead to a physical reduction in the size of the amygdala and hippocampus as the child continues to develop into adulthood (Uematsu A, Matsui M, Tanaka C, Takahashi T, Noguchi K, Suzuki M, et al. 2012). This will cause the child to have an inability to store memories properly, regulate appropriate emotional responses to stressors, be particularly sensitive to stress induced illnesses and other related mental health complications. A very common side effect of prolonged childhood trauma on the brain’s functioning system is that the brain’s compartments will “fire” out of order and at inappropriate times. If a child who has been under constant stress in home life were to be denied, for example, a favorite treat at a friend’s house they could have a meltdown according to how their brains have been compositionally changed to handle smaller negative experiences. The child could immediately, upon feeling the negative feeling of disappointment, become sweaty and jumpy and because the brain has been poorly reconstructed to handle emotional regulation the child may distribute that emotion and feeling by acting out inappropriate and becoming aggressive. It will seem unnatural and upsetting to those who process more normally because they cannot understand why the situation caused such a negative response. While all children who experience childhood traumas may not have the extreme results or as long lasting results as the example above it is largely due to the individual’s ability to adapt and be resilient. Children are remarkably resilient and are able to overcome tragedies and traumas often better than adults. They are still developing coping skills, and they also have time to sort things out in various environments that can be more supportive and healthy for them (think school, different home, family that stepped up, counselors). While all cultures have variances on the way they raise their children, every child has a limit to the amount of