The Impact and Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma

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This article discusses early childhood trauma and the negative long-term consequences that can cause life-long medical and psychological deficiencies. Early childhood trauma, especially complex trauma, can cause neurobiological changes that impact human development and cause significant changes in brain function. These changes in brain structures are responsible for cognitive and physical functioning. Empirical evidence suggests that childhood trauma is associated with physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that can persist into adulthood. This article examines the impact of trauma exposure; neurologically, physiologically, and psychologically. The long-term consequences of trauma exposure, such as substance abuse, incarceration, and co-occurring psychiatric problems are discussed along with the importance of recognizing protective factors, examining resiliency, and identifying empirically based treatment modalities to help alleviate symptoms of trauma survivors.