Dealing With Childhood Trauma as an Adult

Thursday, December 22, 2022 | By Andrew Bramlett

Few of us go through life without experiencing some form of trauma. Whether it’s abuse, neglect, or a major life event, trauma can have a lasting impact on our lives. For many people, these experiences can stay with them into adulthood and affect their relationships, mental health, and overall well-being. Childhood trauma can also contribute to addiction as an adult as well. If you’re struggling to deal with the aftermath of childhood trauma, know that you’re not alone. There is help available.

If one of the factors to your addiction, or the addiction of a loved one is childhood trauma, this can be effectively treated. Like just about any other disease, addiction can be treated and addiction can be effectively managed for a lifetime. 

Let’s take a look at how to deal with childhood trauma in adults. 

What is Childhood Trauma?

Childhood trauma is a term used to describe adverse experiences that occur during childhood. These experiences can include abuse, neglect, and other forms of household dysfunction. A major point of childhood trauma can be having parents or caregivers who are addicts themselves. This can contribute to addiction later in life.

Childhood trauma has been linked by scientists to a number of negative outcomes in adulthood, including mental health problems, substance abuse, and relationship difficulties.

If you experienced childhood trauma, you may feel like it’s something you should just be able to put behind you. However, the effects of trauma can last for years and may even be lifelong. The good news is that there are treatment options available that can help you heal from your past and move on with your life.

Different sources of Childhood Trauma

There are many different types of childhood trauma that can have a lasting impact on adults. Some of the most common types of childhood trauma include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect.

  • Physical abuse is any type of intentional physical harm that is inflicted on a child. This can include hitting, kicking, burning, or any other type of physical violence. This is most common from parents and caregivers. 
  • Sexual abuse is any form of sexual activity that is forced or coerced upon a child. This can include rape, molestation, or any other form of sexual assault. This can be caused by a parent, caregiver, an older sibling, or even an older child. 
  • Emotional abuse is any type of verbal or emotional mistreatment that is inflicted upon a child. This can include name-calling, shaming, belittling, or any other type of emotional manipulation. This is also most often visited upon children by their parents or other caregivers, but can include bullying as well. 
  • Neglect is any type of intentional or unintentional failure to provide for a child’s basic needs. This can include not providing adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care.

The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adults

It is estimated that 50% of all adults in the United States have experienced some form of trauma in their childhood. This can include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, as well as neglect. Many of these individuals go on to lead successful and happy lives, but for some, the effects of their trauma can last a lifetime. There is no clear understanding of who will experience these lasting effects— it can happen to anyone. 

There are a number of different ways that childhood trauma can affect adults. These can include physical health problems, mental health issues, and relationship difficulties. For some people, the effects of their trauma may not become apparent until later in life.


  • Physical Health Problems— Individuals who have experienced childhood trauma are more likely to experience a number of physical health problems as adults. These can include chronic pain, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and sexual dysfunction. There is also a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Mental Health Issues— Adults who have experienced childhood trauma are more likely to suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse disorders. They may also have difficulty trusting others and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Relationship Difficulties— Adults who have experienced childhood trauma often find it difficult to trust others and form lasting intimate relationships. They may also have trouble communicating their needs and boundaries with partners. These difficulties can lead to further isolation and loneliness. 
  • Substance Abuse— People who have experienced childhood trauma are also more at risk for substance abuse as adults. Adults can use substances as a way to deal with their feelings, but this path leads to further heartache over the long run.  

How to Deal With Childhood Trauma for Adults

If you experienced trauma as a child, you may have a lot of unanswered questions and unresolved emotions. You may feel like it’s impossible to move on. It’s important to understand that your reactions are normal and that there are things you can do to heal.

The first step is to talk about what happened. This can be difficult, but it’s an important part of the healing process. Find someone you trust who will listen without judgment. If you can’t talk to someone you know, there are hotlines and counseling services that can help. One of the best resources is therapy. Therapists specifically trained to deal with childhood trauma are available. A therapist will be able to help discuss feelings and emotions, and get to the root of the problem. It’s also important to take care of yourself physically. Exercise, eat healthy foods, and get enough sleep. These things will help your body and mind recover from the trauma.

Lastly, give yourself time and be patient with yourself. Healing takes time, but it is possible. Seek professional help if you need it and surround yourself with people who love and support you.

GETTING Help For Childhood Trauma as an adult

If you have a substance abuse disorder, and you think it might be in part because of trauma you experienced as a child, you can call us for help. Reach our to JourneyPure Emerald Coast at (888) 985-2207. We can in turn help you to live a happier life. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help — you deserve to live a life free from the pain of your past.

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