The Effects of Childhood Trauma

“Scientists know that traumatic experiences such as child abuse or neglect change the chemistry and even the structure of the brain.” (McGrath) People like Jennifer Marks, who was abused in her youth, have developed mental illnesses such as; depression and anxiety, and they live with it for months to years to possibly even their whole lives. Jennifer Marks was abused as a child, this still affects her today, years from the trauma. Jennifer’s father, Donald, was a SP4 US Army veteran who fought in Vietnam, who developed alcoholism as well as a cigarette addiction. Marie, Jennifer’s mother, and Donald separated while the girls, Jennifer and her two older sisters, were still young. He used to be short-tempered with his three daughters, but as they grew, his temper strengthened. He was always so kind to his grandchildren, and had rekindled his broken relationships with his girls. Jennifer had attempted suicide when she was just at the young age of eight years old, thankfully she was unsuccessful, and has surpassed those dark feelings. She loved her father dearly and was devastated when he had passed.

Jennifer’s childhood wasn’t the fairytale, white picket fenced house, perfect family, American society has made out to be the normal family. In fact, it was almost the complete opposite. “Could you explain to me your childhood?”(Marks, 14 November 2018.) As a result of her childhood she has developed Anxiety as well as Depression. As stated in the article “Long term effects of childhood trauma on cortisol stress reactivity in adulthood and relationship to the occurrence of depression” studies found that, “A history of childhood trauma has long standing effects on adulthood cortisol responses to stress, particularly in that depressed individuals with a history of childhood trauma show blunted cortisol responses” (Suzuki, Akiko, et al., Dec. 2014) Showing that those who developed depression, and had traumatic childhoods were more likely to show signs of stress, than those who had not. This shows a possible answer to how my mother developed anxiety alongside her depression. Jennifer is still fighting her mental illnesses today. “Describe to me how you are coping with your mental illnesses today.” (Marks, 14 November 2018.) Alongside her mental disorders she has grown fears because of her past. “Did your childhood cause any fears, if so would you please explain them?” (Marks, 14 November 2018.)

Jennifer’s mental disorders are not a single person case, many who were abused as children have developed mental disorders. “Accumulated evidence provides support that childhood…abuse is related to adult major depressive disorder” (Schulz, Philipp, et al., Oct. 2017) In fact, “Traumatic experiences during childhood are considered a major risk for depression in adulthood” (Scheuer, Sandra, et al., Aug. 2018) This trauma, “may induce physiological dysregulation with long-term effects of increased allostatic load until adulthood, which may lead to depression” (Scheuer, Sandra, et al., Aug. 2018) This shows that those who experienced childhood traumas, such as abuse, are far more likely to develop depression that those who did not.

As she has grown from her childhood she met my father, Wesley Marks, who has seen her change in many ways over their time together of over 20 years. “She has matured, gained more knowledge, and has grown stronger.” (Marks, 14 November 2018.) From when they first met, “We met in high school after I had moved from Pennsylvania, it was a very small school, so it was inevitable that we would meet, and develop a friendship that ended up developing into a relationship” (Marks, 14 November 2018.) to the present. Jennifer first told Wesley about her childhood, “How did she tell you about her childhood?” (Marks, 14 November 2018.) Their relationship has been impacted by her past through, “it makes is difficult for her to talk about things, and effects how she will react to things.” (Marks, 14 November 2018.)

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The effects of childhood trauma. (2022, Jun 28). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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