Posted in Parental Alienation & Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth

When primary caregivers make infants and children feel
safe and nurtured, their developing brains are able to
spend more time learning and building essential
connections. When children feel unsafe or threatened,
however, their brains shift into survival mode, making
learning particularly difficult.
Brain imaging studies of children with documented cases
of maltreatment reveal distinct changes in both the brain’s
structure and functioning (Delima & Vimpani, 2011). Such
studies show that abuse, neglect, and other exposure to
trauma can result in long-lasting negative changes to the
brain. Victims of child maltreatment frequently suffer from
delayed speech, reading ability, and school readiness
(Chamberlain, 2016). Although these results could be
related to other variables as well, the correlation between
childhood abuse and neglect and altered brain
functioning appears significant in brain imaging studies
(Nemeroff, 2016):
ƒ The area of the brain associated with executive
functioning and planning, the prefrontal cortex, shows
correspondingly smaller amounts of gray and white
matter in youth who were studied for their reported
experiences with childhood trauma compared with
those who did not report such experiences.
ƒ The region of the brain associated with learning, the
hippocampus region, is smaller in individuals reporting
early exposure to trauma.
ƒ The brain’s emotional reaction center associated with
behavioral functioning and survival instincts, the
amygdala, shows correspondingly increased reactivity
with higher reported exposure to trauma during
infancy and early childhood.
Trauma-induced changes to the brain can result in varying
degrees of cognitive impairment and emotional
dysregulation that can lead to a host of problems,
including difficulty with attention and focus, learning
disabilities, low self-esteem, impaired social skills, and
sleep disturbances (Nemeroff, 2016). Since trauma
exposure has been linked to a significantly increased risk
of developing several mental and behavioral health
issues—including posttraumatic stress disorder,
depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and substance use
disorders—it is important for practitioners to be aware of
steps they can take to help minimize the neurological
effects of child abuse and neglect and promote healthy
brain development (Shonkoff, 2011).

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/braindevtrauma/

Author:

Currently studying Psychotherapy , Cognitive psychology, Biological psychology, Counselling psychology and CBT. I believe in truth, honesty and integrity! ≧◔◡◔≦

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