Dr. Mark Liker, located in the Greater Los Angeles Area, Can Help You Overcome the Effects of Childhood Trauma
Childhood trauma is all too common these days. Approximately 14% of Americans report that they experienced emotional abuse or neglect during their childhood. And that trauma can also cause permanent changes to the structure of the brain.
A recent article in The Irish Times went into detail about brain health and adverse childhood experiences:
“Psychological studies have shown… that traumatic experiences in childhood have the potential to alter a child’s brain through the narrowing of neural pathways which may cause longer-term effects in areas such as attachment issues, physical health, emotional regulation, dissociation cognitive abilities, self-concept and behavioural [sic] control. Brain development in infancy and early childhood lays the foundation for all future development.”
It is important to note that extended periods of trauma in childhood can increase the chances of:
- anxiety disorders
- bipolar disorder
- major depression
- personality disorders
As another example, a study used an MRI to measure changes in brain structure among young adults who had experienced childhood trauma. As a result of their testing, they discovered differences in nine brain regions between those who had experienced childhood abuse and neglect and those who had not.
It’s probably not surprising to you that trauma in childhood affects people later in life. However, the manner in which this trauma alters the brain is important to understand. After all, the more we know the areas of the brain affected, the more we can treat those areas and lessen the effects in adults.
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Three Levels of Childhood Stress
Every child experiences stress. After all, stress is a part of life, and an important way to learn how to handle situations and increase resilience. However, there are different levels of stress, each of which has a different impact on the brain.
Positive Stress is a moderate type of stress, which only lasts for a short time and is a normal part of life. Examples of this type of stress may include being left in daycare for the first time or visiting the doctor. Learning to adjust to positive stress is vital for healthy childhood development.
Tolerable Stress can be more serious, such as the death of a loved one or a natural disaster. This type of stress can potentially cause damage to the brain but occurs infrequently enough to give the brain time to heal.
Toxic Stress is another matter entirely. This occurs when the stress is strong, frequent, and prolonged, such as abuse, neglect, or violence. This toxic stress disrupts normal brain development and can rewire certain parts of the brain.
Areas of the Brain Affected by Childhood Trauma
The US Department of Health and Human Services laid out five different areas which may be affected by childhood stress and trauma:
- Reduced size of the hippocampus, the area central to learning and memory.
- Decrease in volume of the corpus callosum, responsible for communication between brain hemispheres and specifically, integrating motor, sensory, and cognitive performance.
- Reduction in size of the cerebellum, affecting motor skills and coordination.
- Smaller prefrontal cortex, which is critical for behavior, emotional and social regulation, and perception.
- Overactivity in the amygdala, the area responsible for processing emotions and determining whether something is potentially dangerous.
As we have noted above, these impacts on the brain will affect how a child responds to life. Moreover, adults who have experienced this type of childhood neglect and abuse are far more likely to deal with depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, and more.
Recovering from this type of trauma and its long-term effects on the brain can be an arduous process, particularly when trying to figure out which forms of therapy will work. However, with the proper treatment, including therapies like MeRT, there is hope.
In essence, MeRT focuses on balancing brainwave activity to ease symptoms. We do this by performing a qEEG (brain mapping) to identify the imbalance. Then, we strengthen the brainwave activity through a highly personalized treatment plan using TMS.
Would you like a consultation with our New Patient Coordinator?
If you’ve been experiencing the adverse effects of childhood trauma, then we want to help. And it costs nothing to call us and talk about what is happening.
During your call, the New Patient Coordinator will listen to you and answer your questions. She will also explain our process and protocols, as well as costs, possible insurance benefits, and any other details you want to know.
There are no obligations and she will take all the time you need in order to determine whether you should take the next steps.
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