International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adults

Experiencing abuse or neglect as a child can have a significant impact on an adult's quality of life. The impact can be felt across several areas, such as emotional health, physical health, mental health and personal relationships.
 

Emotional Health

Survivors of childhood abuse can often experience feelings of anxiety, worry, shame, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, grief, sadness and anger.

 

Mental Health 

Surviving abuse or trauma as a child has been linked with higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicide and self harm, PTSD, drug and alcohol misuse and relationship difficulties.
 

Physical Health 

Children who are exposed to abuse and trauma may develop what is called ‘a heightened stress response’. This can impact their ability to regulate their emotions, lead to sleep difficulties, lower immune function, and increase the risk of a number of physical illnesses throughout adulthood.


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ISTSS Global Collaboration Project for Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma