The Causes and Effects of Unresolved Childhood Trauma

Many people have been through painful childhood experiences. When childhood trauma remains unresolved, it may be necessary to address it later in life. Otherwise, it can affect one’s daily life and relationships.

This article delves into unresolved trauma, what it entails, how to recover from childhood trauma, and what those processes include.

The Process of Healing

Childhood trauma originates from one’s formative years but might manifest later in life. When this happens, it may significantly affect an adult’s relationships, outlook on life, happiness, and health.

Figuring out how to recover from childhood trauma can be difficult. Sometimes the general public’s misunderstanding or confusion might make it challenging to discover reliable treatment options and remedies.

Differentiating Unresolved Trauma from Unresolved Issues

Unresolved trauma is an ongoing, often disruptive emotional reaction to a traumatic event or experience. Unresolved trauma can manifest as mental, physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms or discomfort. 

According to the American Psychological Association, unresolved trauma can present itself in various ways, including unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, relational issues, and physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea.

Unresolved childhood trauma differs from unresolved childhood issues, although both might benefit from counseling. 

Many people in their mature years may reflect on their upbringing and discover areas of dysfunction (intense sibling rivalry, an emotionally distant parent, etc.). They may be able to link the origins of a mental health illness like depression to particular childhood issues in some situations.

Common Sources of Childhood Trauma

There are several sources of trauma, including the following:

  • Early childhood trauma, such as traumatic experiences from birth until the age of 6
  • Disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, and extreme weather events
  • Physical abuse from a parent or caregiver such as slapping, kicking, hitting, or neglect
  • Sexual abuse perpetrated by an adult or older person upon a child
  • Witnessing intimate partner violence among parents
  • Bullying, whether emotional, physical, psychological, or social
  • Refugee trauma occurs when the child and their family are displaced from their home or country to unfamiliar areas bringing tremendous uncertainty.
  • Terrorism and violent acts such as shootings, bombings, etc.
  • Traumatic grief where someone they know at a young age dies.

Manifestations of Childhood Trauma

Depending on their age at the time of the event, children who have suffered childhood trauma may react in various ways.

The manifestations may vary in younger children, between 6-11 years old, and older children aged 12 to 17. This trauma may manifest as temper tantrums, bed-wetting, headaches, stomachaches, trouble sleeping or concentrating, etc.

Childhood trauma can have long-term effects on a child’s development. Researchers looking into the long-term repercussions of childhood trauma have shown that the trauma causes difficulties with sadness and anxiety. 

Moreover, adults who don’t know how to cope with childhood trauma may turn to drink or drugs to dull the pain. It can lead to substance misuse and mental health issues, which require expert help to overcome.

When Should One Seek Help?

The longer unresolved childhood issues go unaddressed, the more likely subsequent harmful habits and physical and mental health difficulties may emerge and cause problems.

Parents and caregivers should address trauma in children and offer them psychotherapy as soon as possible. It reduces the immediate and long-term impacts of the traumatic experience, giving the kid the best opportunity to learn to cope with childhood trauma.


The effects of childhood trauma can be devastating. Unresolved trauma can negatively impact a person’s relationships, outlook on life, happiness, and health. But with appropriate treatment from a reliable therapist, childhood trauma can be reduced.

For anyone looking for psychotherapy in Brooklyn, NY, head on to Therapy24x7. We offer psychotherapy and life-coaching services online. Schedule a session today!

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