Childhood Trauma: A Public Health Concern
Following on from my recent Blog explaining the challenges that face Teenagers, a news article has highlighted the shockingly high incidents of childhood trauma, and how 1 in 13 children go on to become Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferers.
The study by King's College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience found that almost a third of the 18-year-olds studied had experienced childhood trauma, and a quarter of these children went on to develop PTSD. Many of those had also experienced a major depressive episode, one in five had attempted suicide, yet only 20% had been seen by a mental health professional in the past year.
The report stated that "Childhood trauma is a public-health concern, but providing effective treatments early on could prevent mental health problems continuing into adulthood."
Trauma happens to a person when the situation is perceived to be life threatening with no means of escape, so they get ‘stuck’ in the memory of this event. Psychological trauma is defined as ‘damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event' caused by an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds a person's ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with this experience.
Often trauma stems from a powerful event that happens during childhood, when intense emotions are created, often for the first time. A child may not have the support or environment to release the emotions effectively, and are unable to properly express their fear, terror, anger, hurt or upset.
That emotional trauma could potentially shatter their psyche, so instead the body holds onto it and suppresses it. The trauma becomes stored in the body, impacting the emotional, physical and even the deepest cellular levels, and therefore affects the consciousness of every cell of the body.
Trauma can have an enormous damaging impact on the body, and it can negatively impact all areas of life and lead to the development of many physical and social issues. If left untreated it can go on to cause long-term effects including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
What is PTSD?
This anxiety disorder is triggered by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Although war veterans first brought PTSD to the attention of the medical community, it can occur in anyone who has experienced a traumatic event that threatens death or violence.
This can be the result of:
- being involved in or witnessing a horrific event
- being exposed to life-threatening situations
- a natural disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane or flood
- incidents like plane crashes, terrorist attacks or wars
- criminal violence such as robbery, rape or murder
- being a victim of domestic violence
- being in an abusive relationship
- being in a serious car accident
- losing a job
- having a miscarriage or a difficult childbirth experience
- a death or loss of a loved one
- an acrimonious divorce
- severe bullying
- struggle to fit in within family or school
Who is affected?
PTSD is not a sign of weakness; anyone can be affected. About 6% of all British veterans, approximately 4% of the British population and an estimated 1 in 13 British children suffer from PTSD.
Everyone reacts to traumatic events differently, and each person is unique in their ability to manage fear and stress and to cope with the threat posed by a traumatic event or situation. For that reason, not everyone who experiences or witnesses a trauma will develop PTSD.
However if a child experiences emotional, physical or sexual abuse and neglect, they are more vulnerable because vital relationships of trust may not develop normally. This early damage may go on to affect all their future relationships. A person's resilience is a complex mix of genetics, temperament, hormones, mental and physical illness, support systems and previous experiences.
What are the symptoms?
People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma, and often have flashbacks, hallucinations, insomnia and nightmares.
They also may become severely distressed when reminded of the trauma, and tend to avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may trigger memories of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable.
PTSD sufferers may experience excessive emotions and mood swings, be especially irritable and have wild outbursts of anger. They can have problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection. They can have difficulty falling or staying asleep, they make have difficulty concentrating and are often jumpy or easily startled.
They may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea and diarrhoea. People with PTSD can have low mood, and thoughts and feelings of blame and estrangement. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than are men. Alcohol, drugs and medication are often common props used to attempt to blot out the trauma.
What can be done?
Treatments at Silver Birch Therapies go to the root cause of multiple issues and can help to release and relieve the symptoms of Trauma and PTSD.
Sessions are available for adults, teenagers and children, and can be done on a 1:1 basis in the comfort of the therapy studio, or via a distant method. Help is available no matter where you are located.
Testimonial from a recent PTSD sufferer:
"I feel like a large weight has been lifted from me."
All information is treated in the strictest confidence, and a FREE Consultation is available. If you are wondering where to turn and how to move forward, please contact Rebecca to take advantage of my HALF PRICE SPECIAL OFFER FOR TEENAGERS.