Need help with your Assignment?

Get a timely done, PLAGIARISM-FREE paper
from our highly-qualified writers!

Childhood Traumatic Experiences and Their Contribution to Psychiatric Disorders in Adulthood

Childhood Traumatic Experiences and Their Contribution to Psychiatric Disorders in Adulthood

Mental illness is a disorder that affects an individual’s thought process, behavior, and mood. Mental illness is also referred to as mental health and psychiatric disorders. Mental health disorders are increasingly becoming a global health concern. It is estimated that 50% of the United States (US) population has received a mental health diagnosis during their lifetime (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021, as cited by Kuang and Wang, 2022). These disorders cause significant morbidity and mortality in many population groups. These illnesses form part of the ignored or poorly understood conditions due to lack of understanding, ignorance, and misinformation. The invisibility and differences in how communities perceive these illnesses have been blamed for this discourse.

As healthcare systems are tilting toward innovative ways to manage these illnesses, significant consideration has been given to the pathogenic principles underlying these illnesses. Understanding the factors in their development and how they manifest allows the establishment of healthcare resources that are valuable in managing mental health illnesses. Salokangas et al. (2020) attest that people with mental health problems generally report having traumatic experiences. This paper examines the pathogenetic features preceding mental health illnesses, emphasizing the nexus between traumatic childhood experiences and psychiatric disorders.

This paper aims to answer the research question, “Do childhood traumatic experiences contribute to psychiatric disorders in adulthood? Research findings regarding this question will provide education and awareness of some mental illnesses’ development. Notably, the hypothesis states that childhood experiences contribute to psychiatric disorders in adulthood. Traumatic events in early childhood, such as bullying and parental loss, contribute to psychiatric illnesses in later life. This research is relevant to mental health providers and individuals with mental health disorders.

Literature Review

Traumatic experiences in childhood encompass events that cause stress in a child’s life. These include sexual and physical assault, exposure to any form of violence, the sudden death of a loved one, and exposure to natural disasters such as earthquakes. Regardless of the form of a traumatic event, these experiences profoundly affect an individual’s emotional, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual health. McKay et al. (2021) note that childhood traumatic events impact a child’s psychosocial and mental health in their later lives. Children with such experiences have difficulty managing, expressing, and identifying their emotions. Additionally, they tend to internalize or externalize their stress reactions and may thus experience anxiety, depression, and anger. These effects often interplay in their future illnesses and are often overlooked or unidentified during their management.

Several mental health illnesses have been associated with traumatic childhood events. Nelson et al. (2020) report that there is a substantial nexus between childhood experiences and mental health disorders. Psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, reactive attachment disorders, adjustment disorders, and others are correlated with traumatic childhood events such as emotional abuse, bullying, parental loss, and general maltreatment. The overarching principle behind the development of these disorders is the loss of trust, connection, and self-worth that proceeds from these events. Children exposed to such events often internalize the feeling that they are not lovable and have low self-worth. They often resort to maladaptive behaviors such as substance abuse and may develop depression, anxiety, and anger issues in adolescence and adulthood. Findings have revealed that the incidence of mental health and other somatic illnesses such as sleep disturbance disorders, lower perception of self, and reduced emotional well-being are up to twice as high in individuals who were exposed to a form of a traumatic event in their childhood (Devi et al., 2019). This reveals the extent of involvement of these events in their suffering.

The ripple effects of early traumatic experiences have also been evident in somatic illnesses that ultimately affect individuals’ mental wellness. Tohi et al. (2022) report that children who experience trauma are at higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and other chronic non-communicable diseases. While distinction exists between these illnesses and various mental health presentations, people living with these conditions are up to twice as likely to develop mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Comorbidities with depression and non-communicable diseases are a major contributing factor to increased hospitalizations and clinical visitations among adults. As such, this draws a nexus between childhood trauma and these presentations and reinforces the need to address childhood trauma as a modifiable risk factor for psychiatric manifestations in adulthood.

Emotional equanimity is an underlying factor in mental health wellness. Pursuing mentally healthier communities often focuses on cultivating equanimity among individuals to enhance positive decision-making and mental health preservation. Zaorska et al. (2020) note that adverse events in the early childhood developmental phase affect an individual’s emotional wellness. Emotional concerns among adults with histories of childhood trauma include aggression, anger outbursts, low self-esteem, increased thoughts about safety, and suicidal ideation, among others. These concerns, in isolation, can result in significant harm to these adults. Suicidal ideation, for instance, is a major risk factor for self-harm that requires immediate psychiatric intervention. Notwithstanding, these concerns also interplay in the development of various psychiatric manifestations. Repeated thoughts of safety, low self-esteem, aggression, and outbursts can quickly progress to anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric illnesses. These presentations considerably affect the quality of life of the affected person.

Childhood trauma has also been associated with various environmental risks, which ultimately contribute to the development of mental health illnesses. According to De Venter et al. (2020), adverse events in early childhood can lead to poor job performance, poor academic performance, difficulty completing daily tasks, and relationship problems. These environmental problems interplay in the development of various mental health illnesses. Poor performance at job and school has been implicated in the development of depressive disorders. The pressure to perform can also result in anxiety disorders. Job losses that may follow poor appraisals will also have detrimental effects on an adult’s mental well-being and even result in other mental health presentations such as substance use disorders.

Relationship problems are other common presentations in psychiatric clinics. As much as this problem occurs across populations, people with histories of early childhood trauma are more likely to have relationship problems than their counterparts with negative histories of these events. This is often due to insecure attachments and a lack of trust that often precedes these events. These relationship problems often manifest as clinginess in relationships, the fear of abandonment, intimacy, and subsequent emotional detachment and self-isolation. These manifestations affect these relationships, as they are unlikely to last long. Breakups and relationship hitches are standard in such circumstances. Whenever they occur, relationship problems can often lead to mental health illnesses such as depression.

Significant in comprehensive mental health care is the ability of clients to heal from various stressors to their mental wellness. Herzog and Schmahl (2018) report that adults with histories of childhood events often have difficulties processing trauma even in their adulthood. Such individuals manifest maladaptive coping strategies and are considerably affected by daily stressors and losses that occur in their lives. Whenever such stressors occur, they are more likely to result in significant mental deterioration in these individuals. Additionally, these individuals often respond slowly to integrative therapy to mitigate these stressors’ short-term and long-term effects. This further highlights adverse childhood events’ impact on an adult’s life.

Adverse childhood events remain a risk factor for various psychiatric illnesses. These events have direct and indirect effects on adults’ mental wellness. Literature findings continuously reveal the nexus between these illnesses and psychiatric manifestations such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety (Nelson et al., 2020). Findings also confirm a link between these events and other adulthood manifestations that interplay in the development of mental health disorders (Tohi et al., 2022). Somatic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, emotional dysregulation, and other environmental factors such as poor performance and relationship problems have also been associated with these events. These manifestations have been implicated in mental health disorders drawing an indirect correlation between adverse childhood events and these disorders.

The health impacts of these illnesses on the quality of life warrant their management. Studies that interrogate the pathogenic root cause of these illnesses maintain significance in informing aspects of managing these diseases. Understanding the individual factors that interplay in the development of these disorders enables the establishment of a framework to address these disorders. As the global prevalence of these illnesses grows, such studies will be necessary as they contribute to global efforts to curtail the health impacts of these disorders.

Proposed Methodology

The research will be a quantitative study that utilizes a retrospective cohort approach to examine the frequency of childhood trauma in clients presenting with psychiatric disorders. The trauma model of mental health disorders guides this research. Mental health disorders have a multi-factorial etiology. Genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors have been implicated in the development of mental illnesses. Environmental factors, such as where a person lives, childhood experiences, relationships, maternal influences, and pollution, interplay in the development of psychiatric manifestations. Traumatic experiences in childhood, particularly, have been associated with several mental illnesses in later years. Understanding these factors allows the establishment of effective management frameworks and is thus integral to effective psychiatric care.

The study subjects in this research are individuals with mental health illnesses. The study will examine the medical data of patients presenting with mental health illnesses to ascertain the presence of traumatic experiences in their early childhood. The independent variable in this research is early childhood traumas, while the dependent variable is mental health disorders. This research will assess hospital records for patients presenting with mental health disorders. The inclusion criteria will include being an adult, a positive diagnosis of a mental health disorder, and the presence of a comprehensive medical record. Systematic sampling will be used to obtain the number of participants to be used in the study. Medical records of all participants will be assessed to ascertain the presence of mental health illnesses. A regression model will then be used to determine the association between early childhood experiences and mental health disorders. The study is expected to take one to two months. Appropriate approvals will be sought before starting the study.

This data will be retrospective cohort studies targeted at investigating the outcomes of a health problem by looking back in time to assess events that have already occurred. This information can be obtained from patient files and other patient records bearing information on their past medical history. Personal accounts can also be used in this respect. These studies aim to obtain a nexus between these past events and the presenting medical problem. The advantage of retrospective methodologies is the availability of data and the ease of collecting and analyzing information.


De Venter, M., Elzinga, B. M., Van Den Eede, F., Wouters, K., Van Hal, G. F., Veltman, D. J., Sabbe, B. G., & Penninx, B. W. (2020). The associations between childhood trauma and work functioning in adult workers with and without depressive and anxiety disorders. European Psychiatry63(1).

Devi, F., Shahwan, S., Teh, W. L., Sambasivam, R., Zhang, Y. J., Lau, Y. W., Ong, S. H., Fung, D., Gupta, B., Chong, S. A., & Subramaniam, M. (2019). The prevalence of childhood trauma in psychiatric outpatients. Annals of General Psychiatry, 18(1).

Herzog, J. I., & Schmahl, C. (2018). Adverse childhood experiences and the consequences on neurobiological, psychosocial, and somatic conditions across the lifespan. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9.

Kuang, K., & Wang, N. (2022). Coping with uncertainty in mental illness: Associations among desired support, support-seeking strategies, and received support from family members. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 40(3), 1018–1043.

McKay, M. T., Cannon, M., Chambers, D., Conroy, R. M., Coughlan, H., Dodd, P., Healy, C., O’Donnell, L., & Clarke, M. C. (2021). Childhood trauma and adult mental disorder: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of Longitudinal Cohort Studies. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 143(3), 189–205.

Nelson, C. A., Bhutta, Z. A., Burke Harris, N., Danese, A., & Samara, M. (2020). Adversity in childhood is linked to mental and physical health throughout life. BMJ, m3048.

Salokangas, R. K., Schultze-Lutter, F., Schmidt, S. J., Pesonen, H., Luutonen, S., Patterson, P., Graf von Reventlow, H., Heinimaa, M., From, T., & Hietala, J. (2020). Childhood physical abuse and emotional neglect are specifically associated with adult mental disorders. Journal of Mental Health, 29(4), 376–384.

Tohi, M., Bay, J. L., Tu’akoi, S., & Vickers, M. H. (2022). The developmental origins of Health and Disease: Adolescence as a critical life-course period to break the transgenerational cycle of NCDs—a narrative review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(10), 6024.

Zaorska, J., Kopera, M., Trucco, E. M., Suszek, H., Kobyliński, P., & Jakubczyk, A. (2020). Childhood trauma, emotion regulation, and pain in individuals with alcohol use disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry11.


We’ll write everything from scratch



Define childhood traumatic experiences.

Introduce the significance of understanding their impact on adult psychiatric disorders.

Provide an overview of the key points you’ll be discussing.

Childhood Traumatic Experiences and Their Contribution to Psychiatric Disorders in Adulthood

Childhood Traumatic Experiences and Their Contribution to Psychiatric Disorders in Adulthood

Types of Childhood Trauma:

Identify and describe different types of childhood trauma (e.g., physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, witnessing violence).

Highlight how each type can have unique effects on development.

Impact on Brain Development:

Discuss how childhood trauma can affect brain development, particularly in regions associated with stress regulation, emotion processing, and cognitive functioning.

Explain the concept of toxic stress and its long-term consequences.

Psychiatric Disorders Linked to Childhood Trauma:

Outline common psychiatric disorders associated with childhood trauma (e.g., PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, personality disorders).

Provide statistics or research findings to support the link between childhood trauma and these disorders.

Order Solution Now