How Complex Childhood Trauma Lingers into Adulthood

Many adults experience anxiety, depression, and relationship problems influenced by complex childhood trauma. It can be difficult for adults experiencing these mental health symptoms to understand the role played by wounds from childhood.

Trauma is complex. Sometimes it stems from specific incidents, such as combat trauma, abuse, or an accident. Childhood trauma is often overlooked as it may not be isolated to a single event and

Outcomes of these experiences can have lasting impact in a person’s life, including symptoms related to Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).

Some childhood experiences that can lead to complex trauma include:

  • An unsafe or unpredictable home life
  • Exposure to domestic violence
  • Neglect or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
  • Bullying or discrimination
  • Loss of a family member or close friend
  • Loss of a family member or friend to suicide
  • Alcohol or drug use in the home

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate as many cases go unreported.

Childhood trauma can disrupt development psychically, cognitively, and behaviorally

Childhood trauma impacts brain development, ultimately impacting behaviors later in life.

How an Adult with a Chaotic Childhood Can Move Forward

Developmental trauma often affects a person their whole lives. That’s why talk therapy and possibly psychotropic medication, such as antidepressants, can be useful in the effort to recovery and form a health self-identity. Addressing these complex concerns pays off, as recovery, grief, and growth take place. By working towards learning basic self-care, the individual may feel more comfortable and develop compassion and patience for themselves.

The good news is that the brain is capable of changing. The appropriate treatment to improve quality of life for a person who has C-PTSD are as varied as the individual experiences. Some treatment options include individual therapy, group therapy programs, pharmaceutical medications for depression and anxiety, or other interventions including Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and Electroconvulsive Therapy.

Ready to start healing? Contact our team at Therapeutic Solutions to learn more about how we can help by dialing (530) 899-3150.


Why So Many Military Veterans Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

Military veterans make personal sacrifices to protect their fellow Americans’ freedoms, and some encounter the most hostile, harshest places on earth in doing so. Veterans can face significant obstacles when readjusting to civilian life, and find difficulty coping with traumatic memories they suffered from their time in combat or watching unspeakable events take place. Many develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which comes from the emotional scars they suffered from their experiences in war.

While anyone can suffer from PTSD from a tragic or unsettling event that changes their lives, the rates of PTSD are much higher in veterans. For instance, civilians experience PTSD at about a level of 8%, compared to as much as 20% in veterans from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 1 in every 10 veterans is diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, higher than the rate of the general population.

Factors Contributing to Veteran Substance Abuse

Veterans are more likely to develop an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol because of the following issues prevalent in their population:

  • Pain: Two-thirds of veterans report experiencing pain, and more than 90%have severe pain, compared to 6.4% of non-veterans. This puts veterans at a much higher risk of opioid prescription abuse. In recent years, fatal opioid overdoses among veterans, including overdoses of heroin and synthetic opioids not taken for pain relief, has increased from 14% in 2010 to 21% in 2016.
  • Suicide risk: Veterans comprise about 20% of all suicides in the United States, many involving alcohol or drug use. Those who take opioid painkillers are more than twice as likely to commit suicide compared to those receiving lower doses.
  • Trauma: Veterans with substance abuse disorders are 3 to 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD or depression. As many as half of Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans have a mental illness, and these conditions are strongly correlated with addiction.
  • Homelessness: About 11% of homeless adults in the United States are veterans, and a 2014 study found that 70% of homeless veterans also had a substance abuse disorder. Because they are homeless, they face challenges and barriers to getting the treatment they need.

How Psychotherapy Can Help Veterans Adjust to Substance-Free Civilian Life

Sadly, relatively few veterans get the counseling they need to treat their substance abuse disorder. Issues compounding their ability to get effective treatment include gaps in insurance coverage, fear of stigma and other negative consequences, and concerns about a lack of confidentiality.

Individualized treatment and approved medication-assisted therapy can help veterans find peace and cope with the stresses of life without turning to drugs. Effective interventions focus on identifying and modifying unhealthy coping mechanisms and finding new ones. The military’s Tricare health system has expanded its treatment services, and offers coverage for intensive outpatient programs.

Learn more about how we can help. Contact Therapeutic Solutions by dialing (530) 899-3150 or reach out online for a quick reply.