Early Childhood Adversity and Trauma

Children can be extremely affected by events that happen during early childhood. Early childhood adversity and trauma can lead to some pretty devastating consequences. When a child goes through a household breaking up due to separation or divorce, it can be confusing. They can think it is their fault, or develop behavioral or developmental problems. Events such as that scenario are what are known as Adverse Childhood Events, or ACEs. 

What is Considered Early Childhood Adversity?

ACEs are much more common than one may think. These potentially traumatic events in a child’s life can alter the course of their life later on down the road. Some other common ACEs can include things like child abuse, neglect, mental disorders in the household, domestic violence in the household, or the death of an immediate family member. These are just a few examples of some adverse events that can lead to trauma and potentially life-changing consequences.

Effects of Childhood Trauma

Experiencing early childhood adversity and trauma during the brain’s formative years can lead to some pretty harsh consequences as the child grows up. From behavioral problems to cognitive issues, the trauma can have some deep seeded roots in the life of the child as they get older.


Emotional effects of early childhood adversity and trauma can include things like the inability to form meaningful relationships, and difficulty trusting others. Children can have low self-esteem, grief, problems forming relationships and low self-confidence. The fear that someone or something will be a danger can contribute to this. 


Physical effects of ACEs can include things like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Another way that ACEs can affect a person into adulthood is using substances such as drugs and alcohol as a means of coping, potentially leading to addiction. 


The mental effects of early childhood adversity and trauma can include anxiety, toxic stress, PTSD, and depression. These can stem from memories of the event itself, or not knowing how to cope with what happened. When trauma occurs as the brain is still forming, that can be imprinted, leading to some severe mental health concerns.

How to Recover From Childhood Trauma

There are steps that someone can take to help heal and recover from early childhood adversity and trauma. One step is identifying and acknowledging the trauma. As an adult, one must recognize the event as trauma, and begin coming to terms with how a particular event, or events, may have affected them and accept that it is okay to have trauma from it. From there, healing can begin. 

Being patient with themself is another highly important part of recovering from early childhood adversity and trauma. Being overly critical of self and feeling guilty over actions and behaviors are common in adults who experienced trauma as a child. Understanding that the person with the trauma is not responsible for the trauma can help to alleviate some of the pressure. Healing takes time.

Reaching out for help is probably the most critical component to recovering from childhood trauma. Turning to a professional, such as a licensed therapist, can help someone to identify, and work through the trauma that has affected them throughout their life. They can learn healthy and positive coping skills, and begin the healing process. 

How Therapy Helps

Therapy provides a safe place to identify and address the trauma head-on. Having a professional who specializes in trauma is the best way to work through the events that led to it, and learn a way to move forward from it. Processing early childhood adversity and trauma in a healthy way, rather than acting out, is highly beneficial when trying to cope and heal.

Some forms of therapy that are used in healing from childhood trauma can include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of talk therapy used to help identify negative and inaccurate ways of thinking. People can learn new ways of thinking to help improve their lives.
  • Cognitive processing therapy (CPT): this therapy focuses on how to change the thought processes behind the trauma. 
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR): this focuses on the trauma itself while using eye movement and other processes to safely navigate through the memory and reduce the negative emotional responses it causes.

These are some of the more common therapies used in healing from early childhood adversity and trauma. These can include trauma therapy, neurofeedback therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. While there are others, these forms have proven results in helping those with childhood trauma begin the healing process.

Healing from Childhood Trauma with NRI

Childhood trauma can lead to some lifelong consequences. Unhealthy coping skills, trust issues, and mental health concerns are just a few. Healing from these traumas is possible, and crucial to regaining control of your life. If you or a loved one struggles with traumatic events from childhood, the Neuroscience Research Institute can help. We have a team of professionals who can help you begin the journey to healing.

Contact us today and start the next chapter of your life.

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