Since the last TED talk assignment, I have watched several others in my spare time and have actually enjoyed them, but this one has hit close to home for me. In this discussion, Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real and life-long effects on the development of the brain. Childhood trauma is not something you just get over as you grow up. It will continue to impact you for the rest of your lifetime, to the point where those who have experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer.
Most childhood trauma stems from family issues like domestic violence, abuse, neglect, divorce, mental or physical illness of a family member, even a death of a family member. We are first socialized in our family and conditioned from a young age by what we see, hear, and experience in our family. So, if we grow up in a place where are family is causing trauma at such a critical time in our development, what does that do to our mental state as well as our health state? In this TED talk, Dr. Burke made it so important for us to see first-hand on how trauma really does affect a person's health and how the trauma will follow them all throughout life.
Using myself as an example, I came from a childhood where my parents divorced at a very important time in my life and my father would begin a toxic relationship. Later on, this would lead to verbal and mental abuse. At the time it felt as if I were alone and nobody would understand, but in 2013 alone, 679,000 U.S children were found to be victims of abuse at least once during that year (Textbook page 179). From my own understanding of this subject, trauma is why we are the way we are. It has all to do with the way we view ourselves, our responses to daily conflict and what limits we impose upon our self. Each day, my routine is dictated by these events that happened years ago. Every choice of good or bad, is even dictated by same.
In my case, I was trained to believe that I am nothing and that I must limit and try to deny all basic needs. Now I understand why I spend most of my time, thought, and efforts to prove them all wrong. I understand why I am a workaholic, always deny help, and deny myself pleasures and much more. Listening to Dr. Burke talk about the effects of abuse really let me realize how still to this day that I have the same fears that I had when I was a child. This fear that is generated from different situations have really been an obstacle in my overall development. As for the health issues I'm facing at the moment, they could be connected to the fact that I never got help or saw a psychiatrist for the trauma I faced. I now have suffered through IBS from the age of 13 and a generalized anxiety disorder from the age of 12. As I age, I will have a higher risk of developing more diseases such as diabetes, lung disease, malnutrition and vision problems (Textbook page 180).
Dr. Burke spoke upon the numerous harmful effects that trauma causes to children's brains and how it will affect them later on into adulthood.
Childhood trauma, just like other social problems, cannot be eradicated and neither can the causes of it, sadly. However, it surely can be lessened in degree and in prevalence. Family problems occur more frequently than people may think. We should first try to solve family problems because most of the time they are where the trauma comes from. Some people might say that family problems can stay inside the family, that they should be addressed within the family, but in my opinion that's not the case us. It is our job and our society's to vigorously react to them in order to stop things before they become traumatizing. A shocking statistic by Childhelp.org, is a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Just remember, they are near us, they live with us, and they can be everywhere.
Two questions I have related to this subject:
1. Do mental illnesses such as schizophrenia have anything to do with past traumas? I work at a nursing home where a few of my residents are and so I thought it would be interesting to know if it is something that you are born with and it gradually progresses or if it's something else?
2. If someone is pregnant during traumatic times, will that affect the baby? I can see it having things such as birth defects, premature birth, etc. But are there any studies showing if the baby will have a higher risk of mental illness?
3. In the TED talk, Dr. Burke says they get a point for every ACE. Do they find different outcomes for different ACE's considered separately? Such as if a parent gets a divorce in order to protect herself and her children from being exposed to abuse or neglect? (In my opinion, leaving the abusive situation would surely have better outcomes than staying in it, but I don't know much about the ACE.)
Childhood Trauma's Argumentative Analysis: Understanding the Unseen Scars. (2019, Mar 13).
Retrieved September 30, 2023 , from
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