Some scars can last a lifetime. As a child, we can all remember experiencing some kind of physical pain. Maybe it was a severely scraped knee from running around carelessly. Or maybe a deep cut from mishandling a sharp object. Or perhaps it was a broken bone that occurred while you were riding your bike for the first time.

Regardless of what instigated the pain, we have all experienced physical discomfort as a child. Many times, it’s the discomfort we experience at a young age that leaves a deep-rooted scar that grows with us as we mature. Every time you look at or think about it, you are immediately reminded of the pain you experienced at the moment the scar was received.

While these physical reminders are common among a majority of people, it is the scars we can’t see that sometimes affect us even more significantly. The emotional traumas that are experienced in childhood can impact the way we develop relationships and view the world.

Whether the trauma was physical or emotional, experiencing childhood trauma can stay with a person for many years. If left unattended, it can grow more severe and intense, influencing their mood and demeanor and even impacting the addictive patterns they develop later in life.

Understanding how childhood trauma affects your loved one’s mental health is key to addressing the symptoms associated with the experience and helping them overcome the potentially negative impact those experiences can have on their life.

How Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Psychology

The fact of trauma is that it makes your loved one feel alone and isolated, fearful of others and ashamed to discuss what they’re going through. The unfortunate reality is they aren’t alone in their struggle with trauma, with nearly 60% of adults reporting that they experienced abuse or some other difficult family circumstance during their childhood.

These types of experiences can fundamentally alter a person’s character and personality, driving them to experience excessive emotional instability, increased likelihood of addiction, feelings of hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide.

Some of the more concerning statistics associated with people who endure childhood trauma

  • They are 4 times more likely to develop an alcohol or drug addiction
  • They are 3 times more likely to develop a depressive disorder
  • They are 15 times likely to attempt suicide sometime in their life1

These statistics indicate the long-term negative consequences that childhood trauma can have on a person’s life and the importance of seeking help to address those experiences before they become too difficult to manage alone.

How Childhood Trauma Affects Adulthood Will Vary from Person to Person

Like anything in life, different scenarios will impact everyone in different ways.

Just because someone is able to live their lives without thinking about their past trauma, or suffering emotional distress from their negative childhood experiences, does not mean that is your loved one’s reality.

One of the first things you need to do when helping your loved one process past childhood trauma is to allow them to cope in whichever healthy fashion best suits their mental and physical health. That could include individual counseling or group therapy, community-based yoga classes or perhaps extended backpacking trips to simply unplug from the chaos around their life.

The problem is when your loved one chooses to cope with the symptoms by drinking or abusing drugs. If this occurs, you’ll want to encourage them to choose healthier options and even seek treatment for addiction.

Symptoms of Childhood Trauma in Adults

The actual symptoms associated with childhood trauma can vary from person to person. They can include physical experiences, emotional indicators and psychological symptoms. Being aware of the potential signs can help tremendously by enabling you to understand the way in which childhood trauma is affecting your loved one’s life and how they can begin the process of healing their mind, body and soul.

  • Emotional & Psychological Symptoms
    • Denial or disbelief
    • Confusion and trouble concentrating
    • Anger, irritability and mood swings
    • Anxiety and fear
    • Guilt, shame and self-blame
    • Withdrawing from others
    • Sad an hopelessness
    • Feeling disconnected and numb
  • Physical Symptoms
    • Insomnia and nightmares
    • Being startled easy
    • Fatigue
    • Consistent racing heartbeat
    • Muscle tension
    • Edginess and agitation

However your loved one is experiencing the effects of their past childhood trauma and addiction, it is important to ensure them that they are not alone. Helping them find a qualified treatment facility to support them and guide them through their past negative experiences is an essential step for them to achieve a healthier and happier state of being.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Treatment Facility

If past trauma has led your loved one to addiction, addressing their symptoms within a clinically qualified treatment facility is imperative. They are not simply dealing with bad memories; they have been scarred by their past traumas.

This type of deep emotional distress requires clinically trained staff to help your loved one process their past sufferings and work through them in a safe and supportive environment. Helping your loved one confront their specific, co-occurring trauma and addiction is foundational to them overcoming the pain of their past and embracing the happiness of their future.

World-Class, Holistic Addiction and Mental Health Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we believe that the trauma your loved one has experienced and the addiction that may have entered their life has – ultimately – deeply affected their mind, body and spirit. Because of this, these vital pieces of their being must be given the support and nurturing they need to fully heal.

We understand that dealing with a co-occurring disorder in any form is an extremely difficult task to face, but there is proven, life-changing help. We take a holistic, non-12-step approach to drug rehab and mental health disorders to help your loved one achieve mental stability, quit their addiction and learn vital, effective skills to avoid a relapse.

Learn more about our holistic and luxury addiction treatment programs and our dual diagnosis approach.


1 American Psychological Association. Children and Trauma Update for Mental Health Professionals. Accessed June 17, 2019.