Childhood Trauma - Effects And Recovery

Childhood Trauma Questionnaire

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Childhood Trauma Questionnaire :

Did your parents often demean you, devalue you, swear at you or humiliate you?

Did your parents physically abuse you?

Were you often physically neglected (eg not fed properly, forced to wear dirty clothes, or not taken to the doctor when ill, perhaps because your parents were drunk or under the influence of illicit drugs)?

Did you lose one of your parents during your childhood (eg because of death, divorce, separation abandonment)

Did you often witness your mother/step-mother being subjected to physical abuse?

Did anyone in your household (who was at least five years older than you) ever sexually assault you?

Did you feel you were not close to your family, that they did not support you and that they did not love you or regard you as special?

Did any member of your household go to prison when you were growing up?

Was any member of your household suffering from a mental illness whilst you were growing up (including clinical depression)

Did anyone in your household suffer from an addiction when you were growing up (eg to alcohol or illicit drugs?)

Score one point for each of the questions you answered ‘YES’ to.

(The greater the number of adverse childhood experiences suffered, and the greater the severity of these, the more damaging to psychological development they are likely to have been).

To read my article summarizing the potential effects of childhood trauma, CLICK HERE.

There are also over 750 other articles on this site about more specific effects of childhood trauma, as well as about possible treatments, therapies and self-help techniques.

RESOURCE :

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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

 

E-books on Childhood Trauma

ebooks on childhood trauma :

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E-books by David Hosier MSc on childhood trauma. Click to view details on Amazon and read free sample chapters. SEVEN DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE.

Posttraumatic Growth – Techniques to Help Keep Remaining Symptoms of Trauma Under Control

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I have stated before that just because we have entered the phase of posttraumatic growth, this does not mean symptoms of trauma have been completely eradicated. Therefore, in order to be able to maximize the potential of our posttraumatic growth, it is very useful to know about techniques to manage re-emerging symptoms resulting from our experience of trauma, so that they interfere with our recovery as little as possible.

THE TECHNIQUES :

So, if, during our recovery/posttraumatic growth, we feel our symptoms are re-asserting themselves, we can employ the use of the following techniques:

– avoid interpersonal conflict (eg do not allow ourselves to be drawn into energy sapping and demoralizing arguments)

– talk to others about how we are feeling

– take as much time as possible for relaxation (eg gentle exercise,meditation, warm bath)

– indulge in as many enjoyable and pleasurable activities as possible, WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY ABOUT IT (see the activities as a form of necessary therapy)

– treat ourselves with compassion and do not blame ourselves for the effect the trauma has had on us

– keep to a routine; this is very important as it gives us a sense of predictability, control, safety and security

– make use of any social support systems as much as possible (eg friends, family, support groups). Research shows that those with a strong social support network in place cope better with the effects of traumatic experiences

– remember that many individuals who experience significant trauma find that ,once they have come through it, they have gained much inner strength and have greatly developed as people with a much deeper appreciation of life than they had before the traumatic experience/s occurred

– try not to avoid situations which remind you of the original trauma, where at all possible,as this is an effective way of overcoming the fear associated with such situations; avoidance keeps the problem going

– keep reminding yourself that human beings are extremely resilient; many people throughout the ages have been through appalling experiences yet have become stronger people as a result

– it important to remember that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness or failure

Note : the above suggestions are based on advice given by the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Posttraumatic Growth – Reconstructing The Life Story We Tell Ourselves

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We make sense of our lives by telling ourselves a story about it – however, this does not mean the story we tell ourselves reflects reality, not least because how we act and behave are often motivated by unconscious processes of which, by definition, we are unaware.

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Those who have suffered abusive childhoods very often grow up to believe that they are a ‘bad’ person (click here to read my article in which I explain why this is). Usually, this is the case because they are telling themselves an inaccurate life story (for example, part of the story they tell themselves might be : ‘I deserved to be badly treated as a child because I am a bad person’).

However, in order to recover from the effects of a traumatic childhood, and to start to enter a phase of posttraumatic growth, we need to adjust the story we tell ourselves; this can be achieved by understanding that our bad treatment in childhood was not our fault and that our adult behaviours, which might have been highly self-destructive, have their roots in our childhood experiences.

So, to slightly extend the example above,let’s suppose that the story we have been telling ourselves to make sense of our lives boils down to :

‘I was badly treated as a child because I am a bad person. My adult behaviour confirms that I am a bad person.’ (Old story)

However…

once we understand and make sense of our traumatic experiences, what has happened in our lives takes on a whole new meaning, allowing us to reconstruct our life story to, for example :

‘The bad treatment I received as a child was not my fault. Problem behaviours that I have developed as an adult, resulting from my traumatic experiences, are understandable and forgivable. How I have been feeling and behaving as an adult is a NORMAL REACTION TO ABNORMAL EXPERIENCES. (New adjusted/reconstructed story we need to tell ourselves about our lives to allow posttraumatic growth to take place)

This new understanding of what has really happened in our lives is often a source of great relief and we need to ensure this enlightenment becomes a FUNDAMENTAL part of the new life story that we tell ourselves.

Changing our view of our life story in this way will NOT mean we suddenly become completely free of emotional distress; however, it can mark a point at which we can start to recover, and, with sufficient posttraumatic growth, become a much stronger and, indeed, thriving person.

 

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

 

A List of All The Main Mental Illnesses

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Since I started this website, I have referred to many different types of psychiatric condition. In this article, as the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual,or DSM V, as it is known (a manual which lists all currently known psychiatric conditions and their symptoms, a sort of psychiatrist’s ‘bible,’ so as to speak; it is revised every decade), I intend to give a full list of these conditions. Some of the conditions will be familiar, but, in the case of the less common conditions, I briefly define them at the end of this article.

1) PERSONALITY DISORDERS :

These are split up into three clusters, A,B and C:

CLUSTER A (people in this cluster appear odd and eccentric to others)

– paranoid

– schizoid (click here to read my article on this)

– schizotypal (see notes at end of article)

CLUSTER B (people in this cluster dramatic, emotional or erratic)

– antisocial (click here to read my article on this)

– borderline (click here to read my article on this)

– histrionic (click here to read my article on this)

– narcissistic (click here to read my article on this)

CLUSTER C (people in this cluster appear anxious and fearful)

– avoidant (click here to read my article on this)

– dependent (click here to read my article on this)

– obsessive-compulsive (click here to read my article on this)

2) MOOD DISORDERS :

– bipolar disorder (see notes at end of article)

– major depression (click here to read my article on this)

– dysthymia (see notes at end of article)

– premenstrual dysphoric disorder (see notes at end of article)

– disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (can be diagnosed in young people up to the age of eighteen)

3) ANXIETY DISORDERS :

– panic disorder

– agoraphobia

– social phobia (click here to read my article on this)

– simple phobia (see notes at end of article)

– obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

– post-traumatic stress disorder (click here to read my article on this)

– generalized anxiety disorder (see notes at end of article)

4) IMPULSE CONTROL DISORDERS :

– intermittent explosive disorder (click here to read my article on this)

– kleptomania (see notes at end of article)

– pathological gambling

– pyromania (see notes at end of article)

5) DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS (click here to read my article about dissociation) :

– multiple personality disorder

– psychogenic amnesia (see notes at end of article)

6) SEXUAL DISORDERS (also known as paraphilias) :

– exhibitionism

– fetishism

– voyeurism

– paedophilia (see notes at end of article or click here to read my article on this)

– erectile (impotence) disorder

– inhibited orgasm

– premature ejaculation

– sexual masochism (see notes at end of article)

– sexual sadism (see notes at end of article)

7) SLEEP DISORDERS :

– insomnia disorder

– hypersomnia disorder (see notes at end of article)

8) FACTITIOUS DISORDERS (see notes at end of article) :

– with physical symptoms

– with psychological symptoms

9) SCHIZOPHRENIA :

– paranoid (see notes at end of article)

– disorganized, previously known as hebephrenic (see notes at end of article)

– catatonic (see notes at end of article)

– undifferentiated (see notes at end of article)

– residual (see notes at end of article)

10) SOMATOFORM DISORDERS (see notes at end of article) :

– hypochondriasis

– conversion disorder (see notes at end of article)

– somatization disorder (see notes at end of article)

– somatoform pain disorder (see notes at end of article)

NOTES :

Schizotypal personality disorder : similar to schizophrenia – includes eccentric behaviour and anomalies in thinking

Bipolar disorder : a mood disorder. Moods swing between extremes, from severely depressed to manic (feeling very high and behaving hyperactively). There can be periods of relatively normal functioning between episodes. Used to be called manic-depression.

Dysthymia : :long-lasting depression, but the symptoms of the depression are not as severe as they are in the case of major depression

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder :a severe form of premenstrual syndrome

Simple phobia : an extreme and irrational fear of a particular object, activity or situation

Generalized Anxiety Disorder : extreme and uncontrollable worry about everyday things which is far out of proportion to the actual source of the worry.

Kleptomania : the individual is unable to resist the temptation to steal

Pyromania : the individual repeatedly fails to overcome the impulse to start fires

Psychogenic Amnesia :memory loss with no physiological cause but which is, instead, brought on by severe stress (includes ‘fugue state’, in which personal identity is lost for a few hours or days)

Paedophilia : a sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Attraction to adolescents is termed ‘ephebophilia’ ; ephebophilia is NOT classified as a mental disorder.

Sexual sadism : the derivation of sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on others

Sexual masochism : the derivation of sexual pleasure from having pain inflicted upon oneself

Hypersomnia disorder : excessive daytime sleepiness

Factitious disorders : the individual fakes being either physically or mentally ill, without gaining any obvious benefit

Paranoid schizophrenia : the individual has delusions of being persecuted

Disorganized/Hebephrenic schizophrenia :the individual’s speech and behaviour are disorganized and difficult to understand

Catatonic schizophrenia : the individual’s behaviour falls at one or the other end of a behavioural spectrum which involves him/her EITHER being in a coma-like trance OR behaving in a bizarre and hyperactive manner

Undifferentiated schizophrenia : schizophrenic illness which does not clearly fit into any of the above categories

Residual schizophrenia : the individual has a history of schizophrenia but symptoms are reduced

Conversion disorder : psychological distress manifests itself physically eg. inability to swallow, paralysis of a limb. This condition is also known as functional neurological symptom disorder.

Somatization disorder : individuals express their mental distress by complaining about physical problems

Somatoform pain disorder : the individual experiences pain which is severe enough to interfere significantly  with everyday functioning, but there is no physical cause of the pain (ie. it is psychologically generated)

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Above eBooks now available on Amazon for immediate download. $4.99 each. CLICK HERE.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

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