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Childhood Trauma and Its Effects on the Body

Childhood Trauma

We know childhood trauma to be a major risk factor for many mental health disorders. These range from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to substance use and eating disorders. However, researchers also link it to physical issues such as heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and obesity. Part of this can be explained by the behavioral changes that can result from trauma. Substance use and eating disorder-related behavior can be lethal. Survivors of trauma are also more likely to become smokers. Finally, hostility and anger, common trigger responses in survivors of trauma, have been shown to be closely related to cardiovascular issues.

However, even when studies control behavioral factors, they still show a correlation between trauma and poor physical health. Some scientists believe that trauma sends the body’s response to stress into overdrive. For a person with PTSD, who deals with the fallout of this increased response with every trigger, the result is akin to constantly revving a car engine, taking miles off the car before its time. 

Childhood Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders attempts to define traumatic events as involving “actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence.” However, because children’s minds are so young and vulnerable, they require a wider set of criteria. The Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; and household dysfunction, namely mental illness, substance use, domestic violence, divorce, and an incarcerated relative. A 1998 CDC-Kaiser study showed that any four of these ten events can put an individual at an increased risk of behavioral, mental, and physical health issues later in life.

Defining the Indefinable

According to the French psychoanalysts, however, trauma is by nature indefinable. Jacques Lacan believed that language structures our conscious and unconscious thoughts. Put another way, we organize our lives and inner workings via language. Trauma is a disruption in this organization. Our minds can’t find a place for it. And, unfortunately, it will keep trying until that trauma is healed. This is what makes professional treatment such a powerful option. Therapists are experts at helping a person reframe a traumatic event and move past it. Treatment may also include medication to deal with the mental health resulting from the trauma.

Your Ideal Recovery Plan

Creative Care has a fully equipped staff that includes a consulting psychiatrist, psychotherapists, registered nurses, counselors, and other highly trained professionals, all expertly trained to deal with trauma. Furthermore, we personalize our treatment services to get to the root of each client’s needs. Those services may include:

  • Medications
  • Family or couples therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Nutrition therapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Yoga and other relaxation therapy

We work as a team to create your ideal recovery plan. If you or someone you love is suffering from untreated trauma, start the recovery process today by calling Creative Care at 800-832-3280.