early childhood trauma symptoms Archives - Childhood Trauma Recovery

Tag Archives: Early Childhood Trauma Symptoms

Childhood Trauma : Long-Term Effects and Symptoms


Although I have written at length about the effects of childhood trauma on our adult life, I thought, in this post, I would simply list these in order to provide an easy reference point to these main symptoms.

You can read my articles about the specific symptoms, and how they relate to childhood  trauma, by clicking where it says ‘click here’ after the specific symptom in which you are interested.


As we have already seen, childhood trauma may be caused by emotional, sexual or physical abuse. If we have experienced it, it can cause us to develop the following symptoms in our adult life :

-poor sense of own identity (click here)

-low self-esteem (click here)

-low confidence

-inability to control our emotions (click here)

-loneliness and social isolation


-unrealistic guilt (click here)

-anxiety (click here)

-failure syndrome (a feeling that any success we have is undeserved – instead, it is seen as a fluke and there is constant dread that one’s ‘true ineptitude’ (as the individual sees it) will be exposed at any minute

-violent mood swings

-crisis orientation (an intense need to deal with the crises of others)

-depression (click here)

-unresolved anger (click here)

-unresolved resentment

-sexual acting out (click here)

-eating disorders (click here)

-addictions (click here)


-panic attacks


-chronic fatigue syndrome (click here)

-migraine headaches

-codependency (click here)

-inability to form/maintain relationships (click here)

-excessive compliance

-excessive passivity

-borderline personality disorder (BPD) click here

-post traumatic stress disorder/complex post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD?CPTSD) click here

-transference of needs (if we were not loved and shown affection as children we may, in our adult lives, substitute other things for them such as alcohol, drugs, sex and food).


Suffering significant childhood trauma is so damaging because it outlives, sometimes by decades (without appropriate therapeutic intervention), the actual period for which the trauma was directly experienced. However, there are effective treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

Effects of Pre-Birth And Very Early Trauma


Neurological (brain) development can be adversely affected even before birth due to the effects of :

– poor maternal diet

– maternal tobacco smoking

– maternal use of drugs

– maternal use of alcohol

– chronic and severe maternal stress

Indeed, the foetus’s neurological development may be so adversely affected by such factors that it incurs significant harm to its mental health (and physical health) for the whole of its post-birth life.

To take one of the above factors, let’s look at the effects of severe and chronic maternal stress upon the foetus’s neurological development :



If the mother is suffering from severe stress during the foetus’s neurological development, perhaps being ill with depression and/or anxiety, she will produce an excess of certain hormones, in particular, CORTISOL. The cortisol is then passed to the developing foetus in the womb and has a toxic and detrimental effect upon its brain.

In this way, due to the fact that the foetus’s NEUROPHYSIOLOGICAL development is negatively affected, even at this pre-birth stage, it will start to develop AN OVER-RESPONSIVE BIOLOGICAL INTERNAL ‘ALARM SYSTEM’ making it, post-birth, much more vulnerable to the effects of stress and perceived threat.

Furthermore, if the mother continues to experience significant stress after the child has been born, the effects upon the child’s sensitivity and vulnerability to the effects of perceived threat/stressful conditions will become even more extreme and is likely to persist throughout life – assuming there is no effective therapeutic intervention (e.g. Schore, 2001).

The infant may, therefore, become demanding, tense, excessively fearful, bad-tempered and ‘nervous’ which, in turn, can result in SUB-OPTIMAL BONDING with the mother.

In this way, the problem is compounded because poor bonding between the mother and child is strongly associated with the child going on to develop damaged mental health.

Therefore, in such circumstances, a clear pattern of emotional dysregulation (i.e. emotional over-sensitivity and over-reactivity) can emerge in later life which will normally require therapeutic intervention.


It is therefore necessary to try to increase public awareness of the possible damage done to the life chances of an individual due to ADVERSE PRE-NATAL EXPERIENCES.

Therapeutic interventions may be able to reverse this kind of neurological damage, at least to some extent, due to a property of the brain called ‘NEUROPLASTICITY’click here to read my article about this.






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