Whether you remember your childhood or not, it has shaped the person you are today. Good and bad experiences knit together to form the foundational basis for how you act, make decisions, and grow into adulthood. Childhood trauma can take a child’s future down a dark path if not properly recognized and treated.
New research has continued to strengthen the body of evidence that shows how damaging childhood trauma can be–even to the point of changing our children’s brain chemistry.
Study shows childhood trauma runs deep
Adult trauma is fairly different from adolescent or childhood trauma. As an adult, we’ve built certain coping mechanisms and techniques to deal with trauma–young people haven’t. While adults certainly feel the effects of PTSD and trauma, children experience it in a way that can actually change their brain chemistry.
The early years of life are the most transformatory. Our brains, bodies, values, and personalities develop during this period of time–but this also makes us incredibly exposed and vulnerable.
In a recent study by the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University in Montreal, Canada, researchers looked into how childhood trauma–such as abuse–can negatively affect mental health through impacting brain mechanisms.
It was discovered that adults who had experienced a childhood trauma had weaker and impaired neural connections in areas of the brain that deal with the regulation of attention, emotion, and other cognitive processes.
Other studies have shown decreased levels of white matter in certain parts of the brain when someone has gone through childhood trauma. White matter helps nerve cells “talk” to each other and communicate information. The volume of it can affect how efficiently someone is able to learn and make decisions.
The development of white matter largely happens during the early years, which is why the research team showed so much interest in how it may be affected by trauma.
They found a lower amount of connectivity between parts of the brain that regulate emotions and cognitive functioning. This helps explain why those who experience childhood trauma struggle in these areas.
Overall, these types of studies give us a deeper understanding of how childhood trauma impacts our future mental health. It highlights the importance to recognizing and treating trauma earlier rather than later in order to avoid negative outcomes–like difficulty with emotional regulation or a higher risk of substance abuse.
If you believe your daughter is struggling with a mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.
Solstice is here for your daughter
Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.
Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.
For more information about how we treat childhood trauma at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.