Childhood Trauma and the Impact of Adulthood

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Throughout the years, several adults have been affected by traumatic events that have taken place during their childhood(s). Lenore C. Terr (January, 1999) states, "Childhood trauma appears to be a critical etiological factor in the development of a number of serious disorders both in childhood and in adulthood." To better understand childhood trauma, Terr defines this as, the "mental result of one sudden, external or a series of blows, rendering the young person temporarily helpless and breaking past ordinary coping and defense operations" (January, 1999). The statistics of childhood trauma is alarming. In the United States, there are approximately five million children that experience trauma each year, with two million of these cases resulting from sexual and/or physical abuse (Perry, 2002). Throughout this review, the author will be taking a closer look at Terr's article, "Childhood Trauma: An overview and outline". The author will also discuss the various characteristics of childhood trauma and the effects these factors have on human development in relation to adolescence and adulthood.

In the named article, Terr provides a detailed overview of childhood trauma and broadens the understanding of disorders that appear in childhood and adulthood. It is important to fully understand how adulthood is effected by childhood trauma. In order to accomplish this, it is best to first take a step back and look at the four characteristics common in childhood trauma. The first of these characteristics is repeatedly perceived or visualized memories. Flashbacks of the traumatic event begin to occur through a smell, a position, or from a physical occurrence (Terr, 1999). An example of these memories can be seen in the author's example of a client at her current employment. This client is an 18-year-old male who suffers from depression, sexual and physical abuse, oppositional defiance, self-mutilation, and hallucinations. This client was once observed on the...
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