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Not a child's play thing: Understand how childhood trauma impacts the brain

Jan 10, 2018

Not a child's play thing: Understand how childhood trauma impacts the brain
Not a child's play thing: Understand how childhood trauma impacts the brain |Credit:FrankMckenna

Childhood is an important part of growth and we know that it is during the formative years of one’s life that the brain goes through an amazing period of development. It is influenced by many factors like environment, experiences and relationships. A child should be lucky if he or she has social, economic and psychological security but not every child is blessed with such protective surroundings.

Whether it’s a natural or man-made calamity, physical or mental abuse the saddest fact is that children are the most vulnerable group in the society and are often worst hit.

Extreme poverty, violent home, loss of a parent, natural disasters and above all any kind of abuse can affect the brain and lead to mental and behavioural problems. If a child is affected by traumatic experiences in life, his brain will constantly feel fear and danger throughout his life.

Some of the symptoms that indicate an adult life that is affected by childhood adversity are learning difficulties, behavioural, emotional and psychological health issues, memory problems, poor planning and prioritising abilities, procrastination, lack of resilience and lack of social skills.

According to Harley Therapy, a psychotherapy and counselling establishment based in the UK, to form healthy reliable relationships in later life it is important that a person should feel loved, nurtured and supported in his childhood. Each time a healthy interaction between a child and adult takes place, neural connections are built, which is needed for the healthy development of the brain.

The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress say that neuroscientists studying the brain have learned how fear and trauma influence the mature brain. It is increasingly clear that experiences in childhood has relatively more impact on the developing child than experiences later in life. The functional capabilities of the mature brain develop throughout life, but the vast majority of critical structural and functional organization takes place in childhood. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety, Low self-esteem, Personality disorders and Substance Abuse are some of the psychological issues related to childhood trauma on the brain.

Heal Thyself

Accept and face the experience - Some of the victims live their life in denial or self-blame. Both are harmful. Healing can begin only when he or she accepts the incident.

Conquer the pain - One of the worst parts of trauma is the pain. It could be life-long but never let it control you.

Seek help - Never isolate yourself. Share your feelings with other family members, counsellor or join support groups.

Exercise and meditate regularly. Say goodbye to bad habits like drugs or alcohol.