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Healing Childhood Trauma - Understanding the Link Between PTSD and Childhood Experiences

Healing Childhood Trauma – Understanding the Link Between PTSD and Childhood Experiences

Childhood should be a time of innocence, joyful memories, and carefree laughter. Unfortunately, for many individuals, it is marred by the horrors of childhood trauma.

These experiences can leave a lasting imprint on the mind, often leading to PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Understanding the link between childhood trauma and PTSD is crucial as it can shed light on the root causes of this debilitating mental health condition.

Through this blog, we will delve deeper into the topic of childhood trauma and learn how to spot symptoms of PTSD in your adult life.

Together, we can work towards a future where individuals can reclaim their mental wellness and break away from the shadows of the past.

What Is Meant By ‘Trauma’?

Before we dive into the depths of trauma, it’s important that we are all on the same page about what it actually is.

Traditionally, many believed that trauma was something only experienced by soldiers returning home from war, but through further education and research, we now know that trauma can happen to anyone and can come in many different forms.

Today, trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope. It can result from a range of experiences, including physical, emotional, and psychological harm.

What Does PTSD Look Like?

PTSD, short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a mental health condition that may occur after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.

The symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person, but some common signs of the disorder include:

  • Intrusive thoughts or memories of the trauma
  • Avoiding situations or places associated with the trauma
  • Feeling irritable or easily startled
  • Having difficulty sleeping or concentrating

Additionally, someone with PTSD may experience flashbacks or nightmares, and may feel guilty or responsible for the traumatic event. PTSD can be a serious condition, with lasting effects on a person’s mental health and daily life.

Does PTSD Always Occur Right Away?

Trauma can be a sneaky and insidious thing. It often lingers beneath the surface, waiting for the perfect moment to emerge. Unfortunately, the perfect moment for trauma to rear its ugly head isn’t necessarily the perfect time for those affected by it.

Sometimes, it can lie dormant for years, and for those who experienced childhood trauma, it may not manifest until well into adulthood. It’s not uncommon for someone to realise they have symptoms of PTSD only when faced with a triggering event or experience.

Why does this happen? It’s hard to say.

The brain has a way of protecting itself by suppressing traumatic memories, and it’s only when those emotions resurface that one can fully understand the impact of past trauma.

How Might Childhood Trauma Show Up In Adulthood?

The destructive memories and experiences of a traumatic childhood can linger well into adulthood.

The psychological effects may not manifest right away but it can leave a long-term impact, which is why it’s important to understand what childhood trauma can look like in adult life.

1. Unexplained Emotional Reactions

Often, childhood trauma stays with us in the form of emotional overreactions.  When someone experiences trauma as a child, it can alter their brain’s development, making them more susceptible to stress and anxiety as an adult.

This trauma can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including mood swings, anxiety attacks, and emotional outbursts.

If left untreated, it can severely impact an individual’s daily life, making it difficult to maintain relationships, hold down a job, or do simple tasks.

2. Trust Issues

Childhood experiences can create an ingrained sense of distrust. When we experienced the trauma, most of the time the people we trusted were somehow involved or never came to our rescue.

As an adult, we may feel like we can’t trust others, even people we know well, or loved ones. This can lead to difficulty in building relationships, and cause trouble with communication.

3. Fear And Anxiety

Childhood trauma can cause people to do anything possible to minimise the threats in their life. From always being the first to leave the office every day, to checking their doors repeatedly, or second-guessing themselves to every decision made – these actions are a sign of anxiety and fear.

Since the threat is often internal, demonstrating excessive anxiety is an expected reaction from a childhood trauma victim.

4. Difficulty With Intimacy

Because early trauma creates difficulty in trusting people, it is common for childhood victims to have problems with intimacy.

This can manifest itself in several ways, including difficulty ‘letting go’ with another person or feeling anxious in intimate situations with others. To overcome this experience, they may want to work on building healthy relationships and being vulnerable with non-judgmental people.

5. Difficulty Regulating Emotions

A person who has gone through childhood trauma may struggle with controlling their emotions.

Sometimes reacting with intense anger or even crying for no reason.

These emotions could be a catalyst from the past, and it results in an automatic reaction. As adults, it can be challenging to regulate their emotions, the effects of them, and the associated physical sensations.

6. Chronic Pain

Childhood trauma can have a physical impact too, with some people experiencing chronic pain or illness. Unresolved emotional stress can take a toll on the body, leading to gastrointestinal problems, headaches, or chronic pain syndromes.

It is essential to remember that not all physical symptoms have a physical cause.

Healing From Childhood Trauma:

Healing from childhood trauma is a long journey that requires professional help, support from loved ones, and a strong desire to improve.

Therapy and trauma-focused treatments such as EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) can help individuals process traumatic experiences and learn coping strategies.

Other forms of healing can include mindfulness practices, exercise, creative outlets, and engaging in new and positive experiences that can replace outdated negative coping mechanisms.

The Importance Of Self-Compassion:

If you are someone who has experienced childhood trauma or struggles with PTSD, it is important to practise self-compassion.

Many individuals feel shame or guilt about their experiences and blame themselves for the trauma that they have endured. Being kind and gentle with oneself is a crucial part of the healing process.

Recognizing that life can be difficult and acknowledging the progress made can help individuals shift their mindset from one of self-blame to self-love.


The link between childhood trauma and PTSD is real, but it’s not the end of the story. Individuals who have experienced trauma have the power to heal and live a fulfilling life.

The journey is not easy, but with the right support and desire to improve, healing is possible. Remember that caring for oneself and seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a brave step towards personal growth and recovery.

Let us all support each other as we work towards healing and understanding.

Reach Out for Help Now:

If you or a loved one are being held back by childhood trauma, Orchestrate Health’s team are here to help.  

We deliver rapid assessments carried out at home by one of our psychiatric professionals, followed by a uniquely tailored care plan that best suits your needs.

Contact us today for a free PTSD assessment and start living the first days of your new life. 

To get in touch about our PTSD treatment at home or via our live-in luxury properties in Mayfair, central London, please call us on +44 (0)808 239 3739 or email us here.

We are here to help

Contact us to find the care you need today.

+44 (0)800 193 3277 or
[email protected]


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