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Childhood Trauma 

​SNOMED Terms:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder in remission

  • Obsessive compulsive personality disorder

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder


  • Develop an awareness of how childhood issues have affected and continue to affect one's family life.

  • Resolve past childhood/family issues, leading to less anger and depression, greater self-esteem, security, and confidence.

  • Release the emotions associated with past childhood/family issues, resulting in less resentment and more serenity.

  • Let go of blame and begin to forgive others for pain caused in childhood.

Behavioral Definitions

  • Reports of childhood physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.

  • Description of parents as physically or emotionally neglectful as they were chemically dependent, too busy, absent, etc.

  • Description of childhood as chaotic as parent(s) was substance abuser (or mentally ill, antisocial, etc.), leading to frequent moves, multiple abusive spousal partners, frequent substitute caretakers, financial pressures, and/or many stepsiblings.

  • Reports of emotionally repressive parents who were rigid, perfectionist, threatening, demeaning, hypercritical, and/or overly religious.

  • Irrational fears, suppressed rage, low self-esteem, identity conflicts, depression, or anxious insecurity related to painful early life experiences.

  • Dissociation phenomenon (multiple personality, psychogenic fugue or amnesia, trance state, and/or depersonalization) as a maladaptive coping mechanism resulting from childhood emotional pain.


  • Dysthymic Disorder

  • Major Depressive Disorder

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder

  • Sexual Abuse of Child, Victim

  • Physical Abuse of Child, Victim

  • Neglect of Child, Victim

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder

  • Dependent Personality Disorder

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

What is Childhood Trauma? 

Childhood trauma refers to experiences of abuse, neglect, or other forms of adversity that occur during childhood. These experiences can have lasting effects on an individual's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

Examples of childhood trauma include:

1. Physical abuse: This includes any intentional physical harm inflicted on a child, such as hitting, slapping, or punching.

2. Sexual abuse: This includes any sexual activity involving a child, such as sexual touching, intercourse, or exposure to pornography.

3. Emotional abuse: This includes any behavior that harms a child's emotional well-being, such as verbal abuse, constant criticism, or withholding affection.

4. Neglect: This includes failure to provide a child with basic needs such as food, shelter, and medical care.

5. Exposure to violence: This includes witnessing or experiencing violence in the home or community, such as domestic violence, gang violence, or war.

6. Separation or loss of a caregiver: This includes experiences such as abandonment, divorce, or the death of a parent or caregiver.

Childhood trauma can have lasting effects on an individual's physical and mental health, including an increased risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and chronic physical health problems. However, with early intervention and appropriate treatment, individuals can learn to manage the effects of childhood trauma and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.


Types of Childhood Trauma 

There are several types of childhood trauma, including:

1. Physical abuse: This involves intentional physical harm or injury inflicted on a child by a caregiver or other adult.

2. Sexual abuse: This involves any sexual activity or behavior with a child that is non-consensual or inappropriate.

3. Emotional abuse: This involves emotional or psychological harm to a child, such as verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, or rejection.

4. Neglect: This involves a failure to provide for a child's basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and supervision.

5. Witnessing domestic violence: This involves exposure to violence between parents or caregivers, or other forms of violence in the child's environment.

6. Separation or loss: This involves the loss of a parent or caregiver due to death, divorce, or other reasons, as well as being separated from a parent or caregiver due to placement in foster care or other circumstances.

7. Natural disasters or accidents: This involves exposure to traumatic events, such as natural disasters, accidents, or serious illnesses or injuries.

Childhood Narcissistic Abuse 

Childhood narcissistic abuse refers to a form of emotional abuse in which a parent or caregiver uses manipulative tactics to control and dominate a child for their own narcissistic needs. This type of abuse can have a lasting impact on a child's emotional, psychological, and social development.

Some common signs of childhood narcissistic abuse include:

1. Gaslighting: The abuser may deny or distort the child's experiences, making them doubt their own perception of reality.

2. Emotional invalidation: The abuser may dismiss or belittle the child's emotions, making them feel unworthy or unimportant.

3. Blaming and shaming: The abuser may blame the child for their own shortcomings or mistakes, and use shame and guilt to control them.

4. Emotional neglect: The abuser may ignore or neglect the child's emotional needs, leaving them feeling unloved and unsupported.

5. Enmeshment: The abuser may use the child as a source of validation and support, blurring the boundaries between themselves and the child.

6. Emotional blackmail: The abuser may use threats or coercion to manipulate the child into doing what they want.

The effects of childhood narcissistic abuse can include low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, difficulty trusting others, and difficulties with relationships. It is important for those who have experienced childhood narcissistic abuse to seek support from mental health professionals and to engage in self-care practices to promote healing and recovery.

Childhood Sexual Abuse & Its Effects

Childhood sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that occurs when a child is subjected to sexual activity by an adult or an older child. It can take many forms, including fondling, penetration, exposure to pornography, or sexual exploitation.

The effects of childhood sexual abuse can be severe and long-lasting, affecting the child's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Some common effects of childhood sexual abuse include:

1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This can include symptoms such as anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance behaviors.

2. Depression: Childhood sexual abuse can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and sadness.

3. Sexual dysfunction: Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may experience difficulties with sexual intimacy, such as low libido, pain during intercourse, or difficulty achieving orgasm.

4. Substance abuse: Survivors may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the trauma of their abuse.

5. Self-harm: Some survivors may engage in self-harm behaviors, such as cutting or burning themselves, as a way to cope with their emotional pain.

6. Relationship difficulties: Childhood sexual abuse can make it difficult for survivors to trust others, form healthy relationships, and feel safe in intimate situations.

It is important for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to seek support from qualified mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, who can provide them with the tools and resources they need to heal and recover.

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