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How to Heal From Childhood Trauma

Living through traumatic experiences as a child can have lasting effects. But no matter how long it’s been since your traumatic experience or how severe your symptoms may be, there is hope for recovery. There are multiple treatments to help you cope with symptoms and feel empowered to see yourself as a childhood trauma survivor.

How Childhood Trauma Affects You Into Adulthood

As a child or adolescent, you begin to shape the adult you become. Your experiences teach you how to interact with the world, understand what’s expected of you from others, and create a foundation for your life.

But experiencing traumatic events during childhood can distort these perceptions and experiences, leading you to have difficulty managing your everyday life. The number of issues that can arise because of childhood trauma is immense, including conditions such as:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Emotional regulation issues
  • Sleep disorders

Many people who live through childhood trauma learn maladaptive coping mechanisms and relationship patterns that can harm them into adulthood. You may not be able to hold onto important relationships or regulate your emotions. The mental health symptoms you experience can stand in the way of you living a happy and productive life.

These are all signs of childhood trauma interfering with your life as an adult. But many people are unaware that this is the root of their troubles. They think that they’ve moved past their traumas and simply have new challenges that need to be faced.

While this is sometimes true, more often, it’s the case that there are serious issues in their pasts that need to be resolved in order for them to achieve recovery.

Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

In some cases, the trauma experienced in childhood can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is the term psychologists use to describe a condition in which the symptoms of trauma stretch out for months or years rather than resolving quickly. Among others, some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Struggling to control your emotions
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Intrusive memories about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Heightened reactivity to certain situations

PTSD can be debilitating and often leads to further consequences the longer you live with the disorder. But there is hope; several treatment methods are available to help people move past their traumas, improve their symptoms, and live healthier lives.

Generational Trauma

Generational trauma refers to traumatic experiences that reach far through the family tree and could potentially continue down the line if trauma isn’t addressed. A person who was abused as a child may go on to abuse their own children in turn.

Unless someone takes the steps needed to break the cycle, generational trauma can run for several generations.

Often, avoiding continuing the cycle of generational trauma is a key goal for childhood trauma survivors seeking recovery. If you’ve lived through traumatic experiences as a kid, you likely want better for your children — but at the same time, many people can see that they fall into similar patterns as their abusers.

Seeking treatment for childhood trauma is the best way to stop this cascade from continuing. You can be the one to break the cycle and stop generational trauma in its tracks.

How to Heal From Childhood Trauma

Healing from trauma is no easy endeavour, but it is possible, and several techniques can help simplify the process of recovery. With behavioural interventions, options for psychiatric medication, and even lifestyle psychiatry, there is a path to a lasting and worthwhile recovery, free from the symptoms that hold you back.

Start Therapy at a Trauma-Informed Treatment Centre

The most important step to healing from childhood trauma is finding evidence-based treatment at a trauma-informed treatment centre. A mental health treatment centre gives you access to a wealth of different treatment options, including meeting with experienced clinicians, psychiatrists, mental health professionals, and so much more.

Seeking trauma-informed care can help make sure the entire process goes smoothly. Trauma-informed treatment centres understand the effect that trauma can have on a person’s life, how past traumas can affect them today, and how to be sensitive to the issues and experiences of trauma survivors.

Essentially, trauma-informed care means that everyone at the treatment centre, including the admissions team answering your call and the clinician you begin seeing for therapy, is committed to helping you overcome your trauma without running the risk of retraumatisation.

The Best Treatment for Childhood Trauma Survivors

With so many different styles of therapy being offered to treat mental health disorders of all kinds, it can be difficult to decide on a treatment plan that works for you. Childhood trauma survivors often need specialised forms of treatment, as certain therapies can be ineffective or even make your symptoms worse.

But a cutting-edge style of therapy can quickly revolutionise your mental health. Ketamine-assisted therapy is a novel approach to treatment that can help you overcome your symptoms, regain control over your life, and finally heal from childhood trauma.

Ketamine-Assisted Therapy for Trauma

Ketamine-assisted therapy is a relatively new and highly effective form of trauma therapy. Ketamine is a dissociative drug which has been used for decades as an anaesthetic in a number of medical settings and has proven itself to be both safe and efficacious.

Ketamine-assisted therapy combines sub-anaesthetic doses of this drug with trauma-focused therapy. As a dissociative drug, ketamine can help people to disconnect from the charged emotions, reactivity, and defensiveness that are so common among childhood trauma survivors.

They can then delve deeper into an individual therapy session than they would ever be able to on their own.

In trauma treatment, this effect is particularly powerful. People who have lived through traumatic experiences naturally resist revisiting these situations for fear of reliving the trauma that was done to them. However, this is just what needs to happen in order for healing to begin.

How Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Works

Ketamine-assisted therapy has several different stages for people to work through. The first is a detailed assessment and history-taking process. This ensures that you are receiving the right treatment for your needs and that you don’t have any co-occurring conditions that may contraindicate ketamine-assisted therapy.

Explaining the Process

Next, clinicians meet with you to discuss the therapeutic process and how the ketamine will affect you. During this stage, you can ask any questions you may have about ketamine-assisted therapy, make sure that you want to go through with the treatment, and can receive expert clinical advice on how to manage any side effects or negative experiences that may happen during your treatment session.

Administering the Ketamine

Once you and your provider are prepared to begin ketamine-assisted treatment, you’ll visit your therapist’s office, where a medical team will administer the dose of ketamine. The dose for ketamine-assisted therapy is relatively small — well below the dosage that is used for anaesthesia — and is safe. Typically, ketamine is administered via a nasal spray or lozenge.

For most people, it takes about 15-20 minutes to begin experiencing the effects of ketamine. The peak of the effects occurs at about 40 minutes and then slowly begins to wear off over the next two hours.

Medication-Enhanced Therapy

Finally, your therapy session begins. You will sit with your therapist for the entire duration of the drug’s effects, and they can help you process what you’re feeling and begin to walk you through your traumatic experiences.

For most people, ketamine produces an effect that is somewhat indescribable. The key effect is that it often lets people look at their traumatic experiences without judgement, fear, anxiety, or stress.

This alone is incredibly powerful. It offers a chance to finally experience being free from the intense emotional experience of your trauma. But your therapist will help you go deeper, process your trauma, and eventually reintegrate the part of yourself that you’ve locked away due to traumatic experiences.

Seeing the Results

What’s incredible about ketamine-assisted therapy is that many people begin to notice a dramatic change after just a single session, and the alteration in your mood and outlook can last for the rest of your life.

Of course, it’s always recommended that you continue seeking treatment to ensure that everything is under control — either with multiple ketamine-assisted therapy sessions or by starting therapy from your new foundation.

Becoming a Childhood Trauma Survivor

For many, the goal of treatment is to transition from being a victim of childhood trauma to becoming a survivor. That’s what evidence-based trauma therapy can do, whether it be ketamine-assisted therapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), or prolonged exposure therapy. You can recover, and there are several treatments to help you achieve your goals.

To learn more about APN London’s programmes for treating childhood trauma, reach out to our team via the live chat function on our website or by filling out our confidential online contact form.

Reference

  • Liriano, Felix et al. “Ketamine as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder: a review.” Drugs in context vol. 8 212305. 8 Apr. 2019, doi:10.7573/dic.212305