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Children who suffer from child traumatic stress are those who have been exposed to one or more traumas over the course of their lives and develop reactions that persist and affect their daily lives after the events have ended. Traumatic reactions can include a variety of responses, such as intense and ongoing emotional upset, depressive symptoms or anxiety, behavioral changes, difficulties with self-regulation, problems relating to others or forming attachments, regression or loss of previously acquired skills, attention and academic difficulties, nightmares, difficulty sleeping and eating, and physical symptoms, such as aches and pains. Older children may use drugs or alcohol, behave in risky ways, or engage in unhealthy sexual activity.
Children who suffer from traumatic stress often have these types of symptoms when reminded in some way of the traumatic event. Although many of us may experience reactions to stress from time to time, when a child is experiencing traumatic stress, these reactions interfere with the child’s daily life and ability to function and interact with others. At no age are children immune to the effects of traumatic experiences. Even infants and toddlers can experience traumatic stress. The way that traumatic stress manifests will vary from child to child and will depend on the child’s age and developmental level.
Without treatment, repeated childhood exposure to traumatic events can affect the brain and nervous system and increase health-risk behaviors (e.g., smoking, eating disorders, substance use, and high-risk activities). Research shows that child trauma survivors can be more likely to have long-term health problems (e.g., diabetes and heart disease) or to die at an earlier age. Traumatic stress can also lead to increased use of health and mental health services and increased involvement with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Adult survivors of traumatic events may also have difficulty in establishing fulfilling relationships and maintaining employment.
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The Role of Healthy Relational Interactions in Buffering the Impact of Childhood Trauma
Bruce Perry & Christine R. Ludy-Dobson, Child Trauma Academy
Early Childhood Trauma – Attachment Trauma
Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc.
Helping Traumatized Children: A Brief Overview for Caregivers
Bruce Perry, Child Trauma Academy
Parents Who Listen Help Kids Thrive Despite TraumaHealing From Trauma – What the Cycle Looks Like in Kids
W.R. Cummings, Psych Central
Healing From Trauma – What the Cycle Looks Like in Kids
Whitney Cummings, PsychCentral
Dr Gabor Maté on Childhood Trauma, The Real Cause of Anxiety and Our ‘Insane’ Culture
Gabor Maté by Human Window
The Courage of Parenting When You Have A History of Trauma
How childhood trauma could be mistaken for ADHD
Rebecca Ruiz, Aces Too High
Childhood Trauma Leads to Brains Wired for Fear
Editor, Side Effects Public Media
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