Trauma, Signs, Symptoms and Support

The definition of trauma is when a child feels intensely threatened by an event they are involved in or witnessed. Research shows that adults exposed to multiple traumas as children were exponentially higher to suffer from high rates of severe physical health, early illness, and mortality. Hence, It’s essential to start an intervention quickly.  A holistic approach is often needed, which includes school and other systems. These are several examples of forms of trauma below:

Medical Trauma

Children experience physical and psychological trauma due to pain, injury, serious illness, and medical procedures. This results from invasive or frightening treatment experiences. Trauma may occur to just one incident response or multiple medical events. Moreover, families present with children who’ve suffered from allergies, seizures, epilepsy and other physical conditions. Consequently, they often present with anxiety and separation difficulties, resulting in emotional dysregulation.

Traumatic Grief

Many children adjust well to the death of a family member or close friend. Other children have ongoing difficulties that interfere with everyday life and make it difficult to recall positive memories.  If your child’s responses are severe or prolonged and interfere with their functioning, your child may be experiencing Childhood Traumatic Grief.

Complex or Developmental Trauma

This generally occurs at home with a child’s primary caregiver. It describes childhood trauma such as chronic abuse, neglect or other harsh adversity in their own homes. When a child is exposed to overwhelming stress and their caregiver does not help reduce this stressor, the child experiences developmental trauma. Most clinicians are familiar with the term Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but most traumatised children will not develop PTSD. Instead, they are at risk for complex emotional, cognitive and physical illnesses that last throughout their lives. They need a holistic intervention where the adults around them understand that they tend to reenact their traumas behaviourally.

Understanding and managing self-harm parent WorkshopThree types of Abuse:

1.Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is the most common form; I’ve spent 20 years in CAMHS working with children and families who’ve been exposed to domestic abuse.  it has a devasting impact; according to Woman’s Aid, one in seven (14.2%) children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood. (Radford et al., 2011)

2.Emotional Abuse

The NSPCC define emotional abuse as the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them. In my experience, this is often under-diagnosed.

3.Sexual Abuse

A child is sexually abused when forced or persuaded to participate in sexual activities. It doesn’t have to be physical contact, and it can happen online.

Please get in touch with me if you are a professional or parent/carer seeking help to manage trauma.

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