Understanding Childhood Trauma, Causes, Signs, & Treatment

Childhood trauma can have consequences well into adulthood. One 2019 study found that adults in psychiatric treatment programs experienced a higher rate of traumatic events as kids compared to adults not in treatment. Continue to read more about how to cope & heal from childhood trauma.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: March 23, 2023

What is Childhood Trauma?

Childhood trauma is a type of trauma experienced during childhood that can have a lasting impact on physical, emotional, and mental health. It can be caused by physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying, family dysfunction, and neglect.

Childhood trauma can affect how a person develops and interacts with others and how they cope with stressful situations. It can lead to long-term behavior problems, mental health issues, and physical health issues. It can also lead to difficulties forming and maintaining relationships, a lack of self-confidence, and unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.

Childhood trauma is also referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Understanding Childhood Trauma

How does childhood trauma affect mental health? Adverse childhood experiences are strongly associated with developing mental health problems, including alcohol dependence, later in life. People with early-life trauma may use alcohol to help cope with childhood trauma in adults symptoms. There is little doubt that severe childhood adversity may place an individual at life-long risk for various problems, including mental health, physical health, employment, and legal difficulties.

Several studies also report that victims of child maltreatment are more likely to have emotional difficulties and psychiatric disorders. One of the most consistent results across these studies is that childhood maltreatment is associated with an increased risk for alcohol and drug use disorders. [1] Continue reading to learn the causes and how to heal from childhood trauma.

What is the Connection Between Childhood Trauma and Memory Loss?

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime? The theory of repressed memories focuses on a traumatic event that a person may not remember at all or may not remember until after the event. It is one of the notable signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults.

The effect of stress on memory varies according to its intensity. Small amounts of stress often positively impact alertness and facilitate memory, while intense pressure can overstimulate the individual, cause high anxiety, and hinder memory functioning. However, the inability to remember events from early in life is universal.

"A child who has experienced trauma will sometimes show they feel connected to an attachment figure by releasing all their big emotions in their presence. What may appear as disconnection may actually be a sign of trust." – J. Milburn

– Healing Childhood Trauma Quotes

Top 10 Signs and Symptoms

Have you asked yourself the following questions: “Do I have childhood trauma?” or “Why am I suddenly remembering my childhood trauma?” Nightmares and flashbacks can cause disturbing trauma imagery and trigger our body sensations. This can become a vicious circle in which the body and mind play off each other, causing a negative synergy in which the disturbing imagery triggers disturbing body sensations and vice versa, putting trauma survivors into a black hole where they can have trouble finding their way out of.

Top Requested Childhood Experiences (ACEs) FAQs

  1. What is the childhood trauma test for adults / Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) test?

    The Childhood Trauma Test for adults is designed to assess the presence of symptoms related to trauma that an individual has experienced during their childhood. It is a self-reported questionnaire used to assess the degree of trauma exposure and the symptoms that may be related to this trauma.

  2. What are the top symptoms of childhood trauma in adulthood?

    The common symptoms of childhood trauma in adulthood include poor self-esteem and self-image, difficulty forming and maintaining trusting relationships, extreme empathy or detachment, difficulty managing emotions, flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, difficulty concentrating and remembering, adjusting to change, and physical ailments.

  3. How to heal from childhood trauma?

    Healing from childhood trauma is a process that requires the support of mental health professionals and support groups. It is important to remember that healing is a journey and not an event. Treatment may include therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and support groups. It is important to remember that healing is individualized, and there is no one size fits all approach.

  4. What are recommended healing childhood trauma therapies?

    The type of therapy used to help heal childhood trauma usually depends on the person’s specific needs. Common types of therapy that may be used to heal from childhood trauma include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and others.

  5. What are signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults?

    Signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults may include depression, anxiety, fear, physical disorders, relationship problems, emotional disconnection, difficulty trusting others, and difficulty managing emotions.

  6. What is adult childhood trauma?

    Adult childhood trauma is a term used to refer to any traumatic experience that a person may have experienced as a child that they could not process or resolve fully during childhood. This can include physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or any other traumatic experience.

  7. Finding a childhood trauma therapist near me?

    You can start your search for a childhood trauma therapist by looking for certified providers in your area. You can search online for mental health professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers who specialize in working with childhood trauma. It is also beneficial to ask other professionals in the field, such as school counselors and teachers, for referrals. Support groups, religious organizations, and hotlines can provide further resources.

Healing Childhood Trauma Quotes 

Here are some helpful quotes about healing adverse childhood experiences:

  • “The things that we hide most in the darkness, will one day be the things we need in the light.” -Unknown
  • “The wounds of the past don’t have to define our present or our future.” -Jill Bolte Taylor
  • “Forgiveness is the key to unlocking the chains of the past.
  • “No matter what has happened and no matter how much it hurt, it doesn’t have to stop you from living.” –Unknown
  • “Trauma isn’t necessary to create strength. You can choose to find strength in compassion and understanding.” –Brené Brown
  • “Sometimes it takes a long time to heal old wounds, but patience and compassion can move mountains.” -Unknown

Impacts of Trauma

Trauma is a risk factor for nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders. The impact of child traumatic stress can last well beyond childhood. Research has shown that trauma survivors may experience the following:

  • Learning problems, including lower grades and more suspensions and expulsions.
  • Increased use of health and mental health services.
  • Increase involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
  • Long-term health problems (e.g., diabetes and heart disease).

The impacts of trauma on adults can manifest in various ways, such as a mental health disorder, interpersonal problems, or general instability. Low self-esteem, neediness, trust issues, social problems, passivity, or overly controlling natures are common traits in adults who have experienced childhood trauma.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Resources

Whitney Rose, author and trauma expert is an excellent resource for learning more about childhood trauma. Her website and blog offer a wealth of information, including helpful insights into how trauma can affect a child’s mental and emotional development and practical strategies for addressing and healing trauma. Many of her books provide additional insight into confronting and coping with childhood trauma.

Another resource to gain insight into the causes and effects of childhood trauma is the website Trauma.org. It provides valuable information about trauma’s risk factors, consequences, and tips on supporting those who have experienced it. In addition, the website also shares ideas on how to prevent and cope with trauma-related issues, both personally and as a community.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Test

You can take the Adverse Childhood Experiences test on Whitney Rose’s website. The trauma childhood test will help you determine which experiences contributed to your current well-being. Additionally, the childhood trauma tests can be used to better understand how your childhood experiences may have affected your mental health and provide information about the resources you may need to help manage any adverse psychological effects.

A great book on understanding childhood trauma is “The Body Keeps the Score” by author Bessel van der Kolk. It offers an in-depth look at how trauma affects the brain, body, and spirit and offers practical strategies for healing.

With proper therapy for adults with childhood trauma, people can address the root cause and find constructive ways to manage their childhood trauma signs.
With proper therapy for adults with childhood trauma, people can address the root cause and find constructive ways to manage their childhood trauma signs.

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Childhood Trauma Quiz

Take our Childhood Trauma Quiz. The childhood trauma test mental health quiz is a 1-minute exercise to enable you to learn more about your personal Childhood Trauma case. If your Childhood Trauma questions responses score 50 points or more, contact one of our specialists for further support.

Childhood Trauma Test for Adults

Several tests are available to help adults assess the impact of childhood trauma. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) is a commonly used self-report measure that assesses the five childhood trauma domains, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and emotional and physical neglect. The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) is another test that works well for adults.

How to Test for Childhood Trauma?

This brief test for Childhood Trauma (childhood trauma test 1 minute quiz) will help determine if you may need to see a mental health professional for the diagnosis and treatment of Childhood Trauma, including other dual-diagnosis conditions. Mental health professionals can accurately diagnose Childhood Trauma and, if needed, recommend a treatment plan.

Childhood Trauma Quiz Test For Adults

This brief test will help determine if you may need to see a mental health professional for the diagnosis and treatment of Childhood Trauma. Only a mental health professional can accurately diagnose Childhood Trauma, and if needed, recommend a treatment plan.

*By taking this free quiz, you may obtain your results online and in your email box. You'll have the opportunity to opt-in to learn more about your symptoms, talk to a mental health consultant and join our newsletter. Rest assured your information is private and confidential. Results, consultations and assessment are provided without any cost to you and without any obligation. If you do not wish to provide your contact information, you may omit it during your quiz. Thank you for opting in and participating. To you best of health.

1. Name:

2. Phone:

3. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often swear at you, insult you, put you down, humiliate you or act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
4. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often push, grab, slap, throw something at you or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
5. Did an adult or person at least five years older than you ever touch or fondle you, have you touch their body in a sexual way or attempt or have oral, anal or vaginal intercourse with you?
6. Did you often or very often feel that no one in your family loved you, thought you were important or special or that your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other or support each other?
7. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
8. Was your mother or stepmother often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, had something thrown at her, kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, hit with something hard, or was she ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
9. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker, alcoholic or who used street drugs?
10. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member ever attempt suicide?
11. Did a household member ever go to prison?
12. Did you often or very often feel that you didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, had no one to protect you or your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?


Test for Childhood Trauma Criteria

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Scale is a self-report measure that looks at eight types of childhood trauma, including physical and emotional abuse, witnessing domestic violence, and neglect. Another measure is the Childhood Trauma Interview (CTI), a semi-structured interview that looks at different types of childhood trauma, experiences of emotional abuse, physical abuse, and neglect.

Several tests can be used to assess childhood trauma. These include self-report measures such as the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC). Clinical interview measures such as the Trauma Symptom Interview (TSI) and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) are also available.

Ace Test for Childhood Trauma

The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) test is an online assessment of childhood trauma. The test asks about nine types of abuse and neglect and the family environment. The results indicate how many “ACEs” a person has experienced and can be used to help identify those at risk for long-term mental and physical health issues.

Physical Symptoms of Childhood Trauma in Adults

The following physical symptoms of childhood trauma in adults may be ways that the emotional impact of childhood trauma can present. These symptoms may occur or worsen during stressful times.

  1. Strong reactions: Strong reactions can often catch you off guard. You might feel unsafe around someone you just met because the person reminds you of someone involved in your childhood trauma. This is one of the most common signs of repressed trauma in adults.
  2. Anxiety: Childhood trauma symptoms in adults increase the risk of anxiety. Anxiety triggers a reaction where adrenaline courses through the body, telling it to fight or leave a situation. Your heart rate rises, and you may feel sick to your stomach. 
  3. Childish reactions (childlike voice trauma): Childish reactions may look like tantrums. You speak in a child-like voice, show stubbornness, and have difficulty controlling outbursts.
  4. Inability to cope with change: Stress is when you are pushed out of your comfort zone daily. It becomes concerning when change triggers persistent extreme emotions that interfere with daily life or relationships. 
  5. Intense mood swings: Trauma survivors might feel numb or have overwhelming emotions. It can indicate the signs of trauma if you find it difficult to identify why you feel irritable, stressed, or angered.
  6. Certain places make you uncomfortable: Certain smells, noises, environments, sights, or other sensations may cause discomfort. For example, if an adverse childhood experience occurred in an elevator, other similar small spaces may cause anxiety or panic.
  7. Low self-esteem: Low self-esteem can be hard to identify but becomes apparent through fears of being judged, people-pleasing, not setting boundaries, or lack of self-worth. Frustration, social anxiety, and distrust can also occur with low self-esteem. 
  8. Chronic pain or illnesses: How does trauma affect childhood development? Some studies show that people with early trauma may be susceptible to developing chronic pain or diseases later in life.
  9. Abandonment issues: In many cases, the very people who should be caring for a child hurt them. This can lead to an alteration in the development of trust, leading to an intense fear of abandonment. 
  10. Substance abuse: More often than not, people with mental health disorders seek clinical medication or self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. People who acquire prescriptions for their condition are less likely to develop abuse disorders, but conversely, often, the medicines they access have high abuse potential, creating significant risk.
Trauma treatment often focuses on helping people integrate their emotional responses to childhood trauma.

Signs Of Repressed Childhood Trauma In Adults
Trauma treatment often focuses on helping people integrate their emotional responses to childhood trauma.

Abandonment issues effects on adulthood may result in the following behaviors that may affect the quality of your relationships:

  • Quickly getting attached.
  • Lack of commitment or trying not to get attached.
  • Staying in unhealthy relationships.
  • Distrust.
  • Feeling insecure.
  • Intense suspicion or jealousy.
  • Separation anxiety.
  • Overthinking.
  • Hypersensitive to criticism.
  • Self-blame.

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Adults?

How does childhood trauma affect the brain? The knowledge about childhood trauma’s long-term effects is sorrowful. It may even make you feel hopeless. What can we do to undo the effects of trauma? How can we remedy missed childhoods and uncertain futures? If you are struggling with the after-effects of trauma, know you’re not alone. Understand that there’s a valid reason for why you experience what you do, even today. Reach out to your social support system or mental health professional. The following are some common examples of childhood trauma in adults, signs of childhood trauma, and how to address them.

1. The False Self

As children, we want our parents to love and care for us. When our parents don’t do this, we try to become the child we think they’ll love. Burying feelings that might get in the way of getting our needs met, we create a false self—the person we present to the world. When we bury our emotions, we lose touch with who we are because our feelings are integral to us. We live terrified that if we let the mask drop, we’ll no longer be cared for, loved, or accepted.

How to release childhood trauma? The best way to uncover the authentic you underneath the false self is by talking to a therapist specializing in childhood emotional trauma who can help you reconnect with your feelings and express your emotions in a way that makes you feel safe and whole.

2. Victimhood Thinking

What we think and believe about ourselves drives our self-talk. The way we talk to ourselves can empower or disempower us. Negative self-talk disempowers us and makes us feel like we have no control over our lives—like victims. We may have been victimized as children, but we don’t have to remain victims as adults.

How to resolve childhood trauma? Instead of thinking of ourselves as victims, we can think of ourselves as survivors. The next time you feel trapped and choice-less, remind yourself that you’re more capable and in control than you think.

3. Passive-Aggressiveness

When children grow up in households with only unhealthy expressions of anger, they believe anger is unacceptable. If you witnessed anger expressed violently, then as an adult, you might think that anger is a violent emotion and must be suppressed. Or, if you grew up in a family that suppressed anger and your parents taught you that anger is on a list of emotions you aren’t supposed to feel, you suppress it, even as an adult who could benefit from anger.

4. Passivity

When we bury our feelings, we bury who we are. Because of childhood emotional trauma, we may have learned to hide parts of ourselves. At the time, that may have helped us. But as adults, we need our feelings to tell us who we are and what we want and to guide us toward becoming the people we want to be.

"Our brains are wired for connection, but trauma rewires them for protection. That’s why healthy relationships are difficult for wounded people." – Ryan North, Quotes About Childhood Trauma
"A trigger is anything that sets you off emotionally and activates memories of your trauma. It’s particular to you and what your experience has been. Triggered, we revert to the feelings and behaviors we had in the traumatizing situation." - Healing Childhood Trauma Quotes

Top 5 Does Childhood Trauma Ever Go Away? FAQs

  1. How can childhood trauma affect adulthood?

    Trauma and adversity in childhood raise the risk of numerous health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and mental illness in adulthood.

  2. How to heal from childhood trauma without therapy?

    Yes, unresolved childhood trauma can be healed. Seek out therapy with someone psychoanalytically or psychodynamically trained.

  3. Does childhood trauma affect adulthood?

    Yes. Experiencing abuse or neglect as a child can significantly impact an adult’s quality of life. The impact can be felt across several areas, such as emotional health, physical health, mental health, and personal relationships.

  4. How to heal childhood trauma spiritually?

    Inwardly-directed spiritual practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and prayer may help reduce hyperarousal of trauma symptoms.

  5. How to help someone with childhood trauma?

    Trauma counseling can help children, adolescents, teenagers, and adults heal their trauma. Trauma therapy is a particular approach to counseling that acknowledges and highlights how a traumatic occurrence can affect a person’s emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and behavioral welfare.

  6. Why does childhood trauma affect adulthood?

    Children exposed to abuse and trauma may develop a heightened stress response’. This can impact their ability to regulate emotions, lead to sleep difficulties, lower immune function, and increase the risk of several physical illnesses throughout adulthood.

Some research estimates that 60–75% of people in North America experience a traumatic event at some point. Contact us for personalized childhood treatment and the nearest childhood trauma therapist.
Some research estimates that 60–75% of people in North America experience a traumatic event at some point. Contact us for personalized Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) treatment and learn more about childhood trauma therapists near you options.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Trauma Statistics

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, child protection services in the U.S. get around three million reports each year. This involves 5.5 million children. There is proof of abuse in about 30% of the reported cases. [2]

1 in 5

Studies show that about 15% to 43% of girls and 14% to 43% of boys go through at least one of the types of childhood trauma.

Source: PTSD VA


Of those children and teens who have had trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop “PTSD childhood trauma.”

Source: PTSD VA

10 Million

Three to ten million children witness family violence each year. Around 40% to 60% of those cases involve child physical abuse. 

Source: PTSD VA

How To Fix Childhood Trauma? Facts

Does everyone have childhood trauma? At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate. In 2019, 1,840 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States.

Over 1,000 youths are treated in emergency departments daily for physical assault-related injuries.

In 2019, about 1 in 5 high school students reported bullying on school property last year.

8% of high school students had been in a physical fight on school property one or more times during the 12 months before the survey.

Daily, about 14 youths die from homicide, and more than 1,300 are treated in emergency departments for violence-related injuries.

How to Heal Childhood Trauma in Adults?

How does childhood trauma affect adulthood? If untreated, childhood trauma can have long-lasting effects. How to heal childhood trauma? Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a subtype of cognitive behavioral therapy. CPT is often the first choice when treating PTSD, especially when addressing the long-term effects of childhood traumas in adults. [3]

Childhood Trauma Definition

It is often described as severe adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Children may go through a range of experiences that classify as psychological trauma, including neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, witnessing the abuse of a sibling or parent, or having a mentally ill parent.

Child trauma occurs more than you think. Over two-thirds of children reported at least one traumatic event by age 16. Potentially traumatic events include:

  • Psychological, physical, or sexual abuse.
  • Community or school violence.
  • Witnessing or experiencing domestic violence.
  • National disasters or terrorism.
  • Commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Sudden or violent loss of a loved one.
  • Refugee or war experiences.
  • Military family-related stressors (e.g., deployment, parental loss, or injury).
  • Physical or sexual assault.
  • Neglect.
  • Serious accidents or life-threatening illness.
Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

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What is Childhood Trauma? What Are The Signs of Trauma?

Searching for the answer to “How to know if I have childhood trauma?” People who have suffered from a traumatic experience may display various psychological and behavioral symptoms. These individuals often become stuck in a loop of reliving the incident and cannot heal.

Childhood trauma leads to physical symptoms like anxiety. Continuously experiencing flashbacks or having thoughts about the incident can make it difficult for the person to differentiate between an actual emergency and their remembrance of the event. While they may try to suppress their struggles, specific childhood trauma and adult anxiety are difficult to conceal.

Not everyone who experiences a stressful event will develop childhood trauma. Some people may develop symptoms and get better after a few weeks, while others may experience long-term effects.
Not everyone who experiences a stressful event will develop childhood trauma. Some people may develop symptoms and get better after a few weeks, while others may experience long-term effects.

Symptoms of Childhood Trauma in Adulthood

How to know if you have repressed trauma? What are signs of childhood trauma? It is essential to learn how traumatic events affect children later in life. The more you know, the more you will understand the reasons for certain behaviors and emotions and be better prepared to help children and their families cope. Reaching out to a mental health professional will give you a proper diagnosis and a repressed trauma test to assess your symptoms. Some of their repressed childhood trauma test for adults questions may include the following:

  • Did a parent or older adult often swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you?
  • Did you often feel that your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
  • Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or used street drugs?

Childhood traumatic stress occurs when violent or dangerous events overwhelm a child’s or adolescent’s coping ability. Traumatic events may include:

  • Neglect and psychological, physical, or sexual abuse.
  • Natural disasters, terrorism, and community and school violence.
  • Witnessing or experiencing intimate partner violence.
  • Commercial sexual exploitation.
  • Serious accidents, life-threatening illness, or sudden or violent loss of a loved one.
  • Refugee and war experiences
  • Military family-related stressors, such as parental deployment, loss, or injury.

In one nationally representative sample of young people ages 12 to 17:

  • 8% reported a lifetime prevalence of sexual assault.
  • 17% reported physical assault.
  • 39% reported witnessing violence.

Also, many reported experiencing multiple and repeated traumatic events. [3]

Signs of Childhood Trauma in Adults

How to cope with childhood trauma? First, you must know its signs and symptoms. The signs of traumatic stress are different in each child. Young children react differently than older children. However, the impact of child traumatic stress can last well beyond childhood. The SAMHSA research [4] shows that child trauma survivors are more likely to have the following:

  • Learning problems, including lower grades and more suspensions and expulsions.
  • Increased use of health services, including mental health services.
  • Increased involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
  • Long-term health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Trauma is a risk factor for nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders.

Preschool Children

  • Fearing separation from parents or caregivers.
  • Crying and screaming a lot.
  • Eating poorly and losing weight.
  • Having nightmares.

Elementary School Children

  • Becoming anxious or fearful.
  • Feeling guilt or shame.
  • Having a hard time concentrating.
  • Having difficulty sleeping.

Middle and High School Children

  • Feeling depressed or alone.
  • Developing eating disorders and self-harming behaviors.
  • Beginning to abuse alcohol or drugs.
  • Becoming sexually active.

For some children, these reactions can interfere with daily life and their ability to function and interact with others.

  1. Can childhood trauma cause ADHD?

    Yes. According to growing research, trauma, and traumatic stress are closely associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD). Trauma and adversity can alter the brain’s architecture, especially in children, which may partly explain their link to the development of ADHD.

  2. Can childhood trauma cause anxiety?

    Yes. Adverse childhood experiences often bring undesirable consequences. There is evidence that knowledge of childhood trauma may lead to anxiety and long-term pain in adulthood, which may also reach psychopathology.

  3. Can childhood trauma cause PTSD?

    Yes. PTSD is common in patients with a history of childhood trauma. However, when trauma occurs in childhood, the flashbacks may be experienced as a flood of emotion, disconnected from the narrative in which the trauma initially arose. A PTSD childhood trauma test from a qualified professional may help you.

  4. Can childhood trauma cause OCD?

    Yes. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are anxiety disorders that commonly co-occur in people with a history of trauma. Many adults who experience trauma struggle with PTSD, self-harm, anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies. With the help of qualified professionals, different types of childhood trauma tests reveal whether you’ve gone through any traumatic events as a child or adult. 

  5. Can childhood trauma cause schizophrenia?

    Yes. Childhood trauma is a severe stress that renders individuals more vulnerable to developing schizophrenia.

  6. Does childhood trauma cause personality disorders in adults?

    Yes. One study found a link between the number and type of childhood traumas and the development of personality disorders. For example, people with borderline personality disorder had exceptionally high rates of childhood sexual trauma.

Adult Symptoms of Childhood Trauma

  • Mood swings or unpredictable emotions.
  • Erratic behavior.
  • Excessive or inappropriate emotional outbursts.
  • Lack of confidence or severe timidity.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Headaches.
  • Extreme changes in physical appearance (getting a lot of piercings, cutting off all your hair, dying your hair a different color).
  • Relationship problems.
  • Problems relating to others.
  • Frequent flashbacks of the incident.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

One of the most common childhood trauma in adults quotes says, “Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When ignored or invalidated, the silent screams continue internally, heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams, healing can begin.” ― Danielle Bernock, Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Brain

Is not remembering your childhood a sign of trauma? Assessing the effects of stress or trauma on children’s memory is complex. Research studies of adult victims of child sexual abuse indicate that repressed memories of sexual abuse are probable and that the extent of memory repression depends on several distinct variables. Many therapists believe that repressed memories are authentic but recognize that inaccurate memories can also occur. [5]

More extreme symptoms can be associated with abuse onset at an early age, extended or frequent abuse, incest by a parent, or use of force. Everyday life events, like death, birth, marriage, or divorce, may trigger the return of symptoms for a childhood sexual abuse survivor. “Why can’t I remember my childhood trauma?” Many asked. Can childhood trauma cause bipolar? Well, repressed memories are controversial because of bipolar false memories of abuse. If you search for “signs of repressed CSA” or “signs of repressed sexual trauma,” the following repressed sexual abuse signs may help.

Signs of Repressed Sexual Abuse

  • Emotional Reactions – Emotions such as fear, shame, humiliation, guilt, and self–blame are common and lead to depression and anxiety.
  • Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Survivors may experience intrusive or recurring thoughts of the abuse and nightmares or flashbacks.
  • Distorted Self-Perception – How does childhood trauma affect relationships? Survivors often develop a belief that they caused the sexual abuse and that they deserved it. These beliefs may result in self-destructive relationships.

Repressed Memories Symptoms

Are you anxious sometimes without knowing the reasons why? Are you looking to find out “how do I know if I had childhood trauma?” and “what is repressed childhood trauma?” or “why can’t I remember my childhood and teenage years trauma?” To answer all these, a good therapist will help you explore memories and feelings without leading you in any particular direction.

How to remember repressed childhood trauma? Remember that a therapist should never coach you through memory recollection using childhood trauma triggers in adulthood. They shouldn’t suggest you experienced abuse or guide you to repressed memories of childhood trauma based on their beliefs about what happened. They should also be unbiased. An ethical therapist won’t immediately suggest your symptoms result from abuse. Still, they also won’t eliminate the possibility without considering it in therapy.

While some childhood repression and repressed PTSD symptoms are easy to identify, others can be more subtle. Some of these lesser-known trauma repression symptoms include:

  • Sleep issues, including insomnia, fatigue, or nightmares.
  • Feelings of doom.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Mood symptoms, such as anger, anxiety, and depression.
  • Confusion or problems with concentration and memory.
  • Physical symptoms, such as tense or aching muscles, unexplained pain, or stomach distress.

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What Does Childhood Trauma Look Like in Adults?

As an adult, feelings of anxiety, worry, shame, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, grief, sadness, and anger that started with trauma in childhood can continue. In addition, those who endure trauma as a child. The effects of childhood trauma in adulthood are more likely to encounter anxiety, depression, suicide and self-harm, PTSD, drug and alcohol misuse, and relationship difficulties.

The childhood abandonment trauma doesn’t end with just emotional repercussions. Survivors of the long-term effects Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are also at higher risk of developing asthma, coronary heart disease, diabetes, or a stroke. They are also more likely to develop a “heightened stress response,” which can make it challenging to regulate their emotions, lead to sleep difficulties, lower immune function, and increase the risk of several physical illnesses throughout adulthood.

How childhood trauma affects adulthood? The effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can last well into adulthood. Trauma can impact future relationships and lead to other issues like depression and low self-esteem. Exposure to traumatic events can also cause poor self-esteem, depression, self-destructive behavior, and even difficulty trusting others. What can childhood trauma cause? This can become especially problematic with age, as traumatic events from childhood can result in adverse health effects in adulthood.

  • Trauma can burrow down deep into the body, contributing to chronic illness. Complex childhood trauma can cause physical and psychological scars because those with adverse childhood experiences are more prone to obesity and problematic alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Trauma can be harmful to a person’s relationship with their sexuality. Growing up in a safe, caring environment allows a child to learn about their bodies and sexuality in a healthy, confident way. But not having knowledge of or positive role models for sex and relationships can lead to poor outcomes later in life.
  • A person’s understanding of time and reality can be distorted by complex trauma. Even the present can feel distant to those with complex trauma.

Three Main Types of Traumas

What is considered childhood trauma? Severe childhood trauma in adults can have long-term effects on a person’s well-being. If symptoms persist and do not decrease in severity, it can indicate that the trauma has developed into a mental health disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). What causes childhood trauma? The three main types of traumas include the following:

  • Acute Trauma – This results from a single stressful or dangerous event.
  • Chronic Trauma – Results from repeated and prolonged exposure to highly stressful events. Examples include cases of child abuse, bullying, or domestic violence.
  • Complex Trauma – This results from exposure to multiple traumatic events.

PTSD develops when trauma symptoms persist or worsen weeks and months after the stressful event. This distressing mental disorder can interfere with your daily life and relationships. Moreover, PTSD symptoms may include severe anxiety, flashbacks, and persistent event memories.

People can pass their epigenetic marks, including de-myelinated neurons, to their children. The effects of trauma can be transferred from one generation of mental illness caused by childhood trauma survivors to subsequent generations of offspring. This is known as transgenerational or intergenerational trauma and can manifest in parenting behaviors and epigenetically.

Exposure to disorders caused by childhood trauma and environmental stress can also cause alterations in genes and gene expressions. A growing body of literature suggests that children’s experiences of trauma and abuse within close relationships not only jeopardize their well-being in childhood but can also have long-lasting consequences that extend well into adulthood. This long-lasting “adverse childhood experiences trauma” can include emotion regulation issues, which can be passed on to subsequent generations through child-parent interactions and learned behaviors. (see also behavioral epigenetics, epigenetics, historical trauma, and the cycle of violence)

What Childhood Trauma Do I Have Quiz & Diagnosis

According to the “Do I have childhood trauma tests?” sample childhood emotional trauma tests, the rougher your childhood score, the higher your quiz score. This, in turn, has implications for experiences well into adulthood. For example, this may manifest in symptoms that range from headaches and heart disease to depression and substance abuse.

“Do I have childhood trauma quiz?” must be supervised and conducted by a mental health professional. “A score childhood trauma” is determined by your unique situation for the treatment to be personalized and get to the roots of healing your trauma.

  • Why don’t I remember my childhood trauma?
  • How childhood trauma affects relationships?
  • How does childhood trauma affect memory?
  • Why you or a loved one can’t remember childhood trauma?
  • Did I experience childhood trauma?
  • What type of childhood trauma do I have?
  • How childhood trauma leads to addiction?
  • How to work through childhood trauma?
  • What counts as childhood trauma that shows in your nightmares or flashbacks?
  • How to process childhood trauma in your unique situation?

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Trauma Treatment

How to treat childhood trauma in adults? The good news is that several treatments can help people start dealing with childhood trauma in adulthood and improve their life. But, you must work with a trauma-informed or trauma-focused therapist to attain effective trauma treatment.

The main treatments for people with PTSD, “childhood trauma and anger in adulthood,” are medications, psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), or both. Everyone is different, and trauma affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. Some people with trauma may need to try different treatments to find what works for their symptoms. But anyone with PTSD needs to be treated by a mental health provider who is experienced with PTSD.

If someone with PTSD goes through an ongoing trauma, such as being in an abusive relationship, both problems must be addressed. Other ongoing problems can include panic disorder, depression, substance abuse, and feeling suicidal.

Medications for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

The most studied medication for treating trauma is antidepressants, which may help control trauma symptoms such as sadness, worry, anger, and feeling numb inside. How to heal childhood trauma in adults? Other drugs may help treat specific trauma symptoms like sleep problems and nightmares. Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or combination and the correct dose.

Psychotherapy for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Psychotherapy (sometimes called “talk therapy”) involves talking with a mental health professional to treat a mental illness and help resolve repressed memories. Psychotherapy can occur one-on-one or in a group. How to overcome childhood trauma? Talk therapy for childhood trauma in adults usually lasts 6 to 12 weeks but can last longer. Research shows that support from family and friends can be essential to recovery. [6]

Many types of psychotherapy can help people with trauma. Some types target the symptoms of PTSD directly. Other therapies focus on social, family, or job-related problems. Depending on each person’s needs, the doctor or therapist may combine different treatments.

Effective psychotherapies tend to emphasize a few key components, including education about symptoms, teaching skills to help identify the triggers of symptoms, and skills to manage the symptoms. How to heal subconscious trauma from childhood? One helpful form of therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT can include:

  • Exposure Therapy. This helps people face and control their fear. It gradually exposes them to the trauma they experienced safely. It uses imagining, writing, or visiting the place where the event happened. The therapist uses these tools to help people with trauma cope with their feelings.
  • Cognitive Restructuring. How to let go of childhood trauma? Cognitive restructuring helps people make sense of bad memories. Sometimes people remember the event differently than how it happened. They may feel guilt or shame about something that is not their fault. The therapist helps people with trauma look at what happened realistically.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that provides help for adults healing from adverse childhood experiences. Specifically focused on trauma, that helps patients change destructive patterns such as negative emotional, behavioral, and thought patterns into positive solutions through the use of awareness and cognitive responses

How to recover from childhood trauma? Other types of “childhood trauma in adults therapy” can also help. People with trauma should talk about all treatment options with a therapist. Treatment should equip individuals with the skills to manage their symptoms and allow them to participate in activities they enjoy before developing trauma disorders. How to deal with repressed trauma? Programs, services, and treatments vary. But it’s crucial first to address how to uncover repressed trauma.

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Where To Find Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Trauma Treatment?

Trauma can come after a one-off event, such as an accident or assault, or from repeated events, like an abusive relationship or childhood neglect. Complex trauma — the kind that arises from repeated events — often stems from childhood experiences that affect your adult life.

Therapy can help you integrate traumatic event(s) and understand them — which enables you to begin the healing process. Your trauma memories will stay, but they’ll start to have less power over you and your emotions.

Therapy helps normalize an individual’s responses to the trauma they experienced. It can give them new skills to manage their feelings and reactions while giving context and education about the event.

There are many evidence-based practices (EBPs) for trauma and PTSD, which are interventions that have proven robust in working with targeted populations, though not all recommended therapies are EBPs.

Trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT) therapy is a cognitive behavioral treatment mainly used for young adults and children with trauma. TF-CBT’s goal is to help individuals recognize false beliefs (such as who to blame for abuse), correct unhealthy behavior patterns, and develop new coping methods, such as self-soothing and expressing their emotions. Parents or caregivers are also involved in this approach.

How to deal with childhood trauma in adulthood? Most people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. Some may experience symptoms of shock and distress, and most will recover within a short period. Meanwhile, a minority will experience more long-term traumatic effects, such as the development of PTSD. That is when therapy and self-care can help those with persistent signs of trauma in adults. Indeed, that treatment can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. How to heal childhood trauma without therapy? It depends on your support systems, such as family or friends, but for excellent outcomes, seeking professional help can ease your burdens and bring the best results.

How to get out of survival mode from childhood trauma? You can always get help for anything that happened to you as a child, no matter how old you are or how far away it was. Recognize that you can always begin improving yourself and seek out therapy. It is OK if it has taken you some time to reach the point where you are ready to work on it; know that your thoughts and feelings about things that happened to you years ago are just as valid today as they were then. It’s never too late to get professional assistance if you’ve ever encountered abuse, regardless of when it happened.

To help yourself while in treatment:

  • Talk with your doctor about treatment options.
  • Engage in mild physical activity or exercise to help reduce stress.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with others and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Tell others about things that may trigger symptoms.
  • Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately.
  • Identify and seek out comforting situations, places, and people.

How to support someone with childhood trauma? Healing from adverse childhood experiences and caring for yourself and others is especially important when many people are exposed to traumatic events (such as natural disasters, accidents, and violent acts).

Therapy and self-care can help those with persistent physical symptoms of childhood trauma and signs of emotional trauma in adults.
Therapy and self-care can help those with persistent physical symptoms of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and signs of emotional trauma in adults.

The We Level Up FL primary mental health center stands ready to help. We Level Up FL can inspire a support system through our mental health treatments to make you feel valuable. You can trust the treatment backed by leading recovery specialists practicing evidence-based therapy. We Level Up FL Treatment Center offers therapy under one roof. Get comprehensive therapy for mind, body & spirit.

Call us now for a free mental health assessment! In addition, for the substance abuse or dual diagnosis approach, our inpatient treatmentinpatient medical detox, and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility. How to fix childhood trauma? For more childhood trauma treatment resources, call us about your symptoms, and we can help you determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.

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8 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Most Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How to tell if you have repressed memories?

    Does childhood trauma cause memory loss? Yes. Repressed memories, also known as dissociative amnesia, are shared by those who have experienced repressing trauma. While some cannot recall an event quickly, others miss entire years of their lives. Along with memory loss, other signs of repressed trauma can include low self-esteem, substance abuse disorders, increased physical or mental illnesses, and interpersonal problems.

  2. How do I know if I have childhood trauma?

    Effective treatments like trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapies are available to help you understand and resolve signs of childhood PTSD in adults. There are several evidence-based and promising practices to address symptoms of childhood PTSD in adults.

  3. Do I have repressed trauma?

    Childhood trauma as adults can be problematic. Most children over three start developing memories that they can later recall in adulthood. However, if you are a trauma survivor, you may be unable to access these memories. Some survivors unconsciously have childhood trauma blocked out for weeks, months, or even years of their childhoods. This is often the result of a child ‘dissociating’ from a traumatic experience.

  4. How to identify childhood trauma in adults?

    Identifying the signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults can be tricky. Many of these signs also align with other mental health concerns. But some symptoms are unique as well. Speaking with a mental health professional can make it easier than resolving it alone.

  5. How to uncover childhood trauma?

    Knowing the signs of repressed childhood trauma in adults is only one step toward recovery. You need to recover those memories in a safe space where professionals can help you understand and cope with the trauma and repressed memory symptoms. Many are also asking, “How to heal childhood trauma books?” “How to remember childhood trauma Reddit?” “How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime ted talk?” While searching for online and self-help resources is good for mental health, professional treatment is an excellent option to rest assured that you develop an improved ability to problem-solve.

  6. How do you know if you have repressed childhood trauma?

    Can childhood trauma cause memory loss? Yes. But even when traumatic memories are repressed, there are many ways that unresolved trauma can impact a person’s everyday life. Knowing the common signs and symptoms of early childhood trauma in adults can help survivors identify their unresolved issues. This way, they can get the help they need to heal from childhood trauma signs in adults and move on.

  7. How to heal repressed trauma?

    The passing of time doesn’t always heal unresolved symptoms of repressed memories and symptoms of childhood trauma in adults. Still, childhood trauma therapy and treatment for childhood trauma in adults can. When combating signs of childhood abuse in adults and signs of repressed memories, choosing a therapist specializing in trauma-informed treatment is essential.

  8. How do I know if I have repressed childhood trauma?

    Repressed memories can often be recovered when someone encounters something that reminds them of a traumatic event, such as familiar sights, sounds, or scents. A person will frequently experience this as feeling “flooded” by the memory and the nuanced emotions connected to it. When things get overwhelming, seek help from a licensed therapist to recover from signs of repressed emotions and repressed trauma symptoms.

Search We Level Up FL Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) & Other Resources

[1] Brady KT, Back SE. Childhood trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, and alcohol dependence. Alcohol Res. 2012;34(4):408-13. PMID: 23584107; PMCID: PMC3860395.

[2] PTSD: National Center for PTSD – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

[3] McBride, K. (2009). Will I ever be good enough to heal the daughters of narcissistic mothers? Atria Books. ISBN-10: me mental health childhood trauma test

[4-5] Recognizing and Treating Child Traumatic Stress – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

[6] Controversy Over Repressed Memories – Office of Justice Programs

[7] Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – National Institute of Mental health

[8] De Bellis MD, Zisk A. The biological effects of childhood trauma. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2014 Apr;23(2):185-222, vii. DOI: 10.1016/j.chc.2014.01.002. Epub 2014 Feb 16. PMID: 24656576; PMCID: Childhood Trauma Test Me Mental Health Quiz.

[9] Kleber RJ. Trauma and Public Mental Health: A Focused Review. Front Psychiatry. 2019 Jun 25;10:451. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00451. PMID: 31293461; PMCID: PMC6603306.

[10] We Level Up – Mental Health » Trauma Treatment