We have seen from several other articles that I have published on this site that the experience of a traumatic childhood is linked to the development of complex PTSD later on in life.
Whilst all cases of complex PTSD are extremely serious, certain factors are thought to increase the risk that we will develop an especially severe form of the disorder. These are as follows :
the person responsible for causing the trauma was a parent / primary carer (this worsens the effect of the trauma because of the emotional devastation caused by being harmed and betrayed by the very person whose responsibility it was to care for us and protect us)
how protracted the experience of the trauma was (on average, the longer the trauma lasts, the worse the effect will be ; tragically, some people experience pretty much ongoing trauma of one form or another (some of which may overlap and occur simultaneously) from birth to eighteen years which may, potentially, have a particularly adverse affect upon multiple stages of brain development and upon the young person’s development in general.
the individual is isolated during the period of trauma (this worsens the effect of the trauma due to the fact that emotional support from significant others (such as members of the wider family, teachers, therapists etc) have a protective effect on mental health ; this protective effect is unavailable to those who experience their trauma in isolation.
the earlier in life the traumatic experience occurs, the more psychological harm it is likely to do. This is because the young brain is especially ‘plastic’ / malleable and, therefore, more vulnerable to being damaged by the experience of protracted, high levels of stress / fear / anxiety.
the person responsible for causing the trauma is still in contact with the traumatized individual
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).