People who were abused, neglected, bullied, exploited, or trafficked often experience complex trauma. So can people who experience or witness violence in the community or at home when they were growing up. Being culturally dislocated or experiencing discrimination for any reason can be traumatic as well. There are lot of possible ways in which children and young people can experience repeated trauma. And this may cause fundamental changes to brain development, neurochemistry, psychological stress response, with associated alterations in a person’s identity, behavior, and relationships as they try to endure the abuse.
Complex trauma symptoms :
- Difficulty managing emotional responses (anger, depression, and suicidal thoughts)
- Detachment, including bouts with memory loss or dissociation
- Negative self-image, shame, and guilt
- Trouble with relationships, including self-isolating and difficulty trusting others
- Unhealthy fixation on the abuser
- Loss of religion and other beliefs
- Sense of hopelessness
Developmental trauma is the result of seeming invisible childhood experiences of being mistreated or abused that have been repeated many times. These cumulative experiences could involve verbal abuse, neglect or manipulation by a parent. Since the young child has no way to control the maltreatment and no hope of escape, these repeated experiences often traumatize the child. A child who is raised in the toxic environment of parental inconsistency, emotional abandonment, danger or unpredictability is left to suffer from “invisible trauma” that ensures both psychological and often neurological disruption.
While it is fairly easy to recognize physical or sexual abuse, the devastating impact of having deficient or harmful parents can easily be out of our awareness. Because of the difficulty in identifying the emotional damage inflicted by alienation or emotional abandonment, children who suffer such wounds are often left bewildered and feeling confused by their pain.
Despite the hidden nature of this epidemic, there is a growing body of research that has connected many psychological problems to these chronic emotional injuries endured in childhood.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences
Children with developmental trauma disorder typically have symptoms of PTSD. In addition, they often struggle with mood regulation, anger, aggression, self-injury, and an unhealthy need for control.
Changes in the brain affect their development and their ability to trust their adult caregivers. A study done by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control found that almost a third of adults who had symptoms related to developmental trauma disorder had a parent or caregiver in their home who abused alcohol or drugs.
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