Abuse and trauma are generally separated. While abuse stems from a human action that makes the victim suffer, trauma usually comes from an unfortunate situation the victim never saw coming or couldn’t avoid. However, their effects on the mind and life are very similar.
Behavioral Changes Resulting from Abuse
Abusive homes are notorious for producing the following effects in their victims:
- Imprisonment for violent behavior, often before the age of eighteen
- Aggressive actions with little to no provocation
- Proclivity to abuse one’s own future family, or to remain passive in future abusive relationships
- Borderline and other personality disorders
- Difficulty relating to and establishing healthy relationships with others
- Poor performance in scholastic settings
- Speech impediments
- Sleep difficulties
- Inability to maintain a steady job
- Health complications
Seeing a loved one abused has many of the same effects as the preceding list, as this tragedy constitutes psychological abuse. Also neglect is mental abuse, which leads many of its sufferers to act out with varying degrees of danger both to themselves and their surroundings. This response can be a cry for attention, a way to block out painful memories of abandonment or both.
To medicate all of these things, many victims turn to drug and alcohol abuse. While this makes them forget their pain for a little while, the diminishing effects of illicit substances escalate their addictions and damage to their already unsteady lives.
Behavioral Changes Resulting from Trauma
Physical trauma is inflicted by abuse or accidents. If the brain is damaged, results can include the following issues:
- Learning disabilities
- Impaired motor skills
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Aggressive or noncompliant behavior
Even if the survivor only endured wounds that healed quickly, he may still suffer any of these repercussions:
- Feelings of defenselessness and weakness
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Paranoia or motionlessness in situations similar to the traumatic experience
- Diminished academic achievement
- Frequent illness
Trauma alters the way the brain develops, especially in children and adolescents who are still growing. This means they will process life differently — often negatively — than if they had never had the experience. Though children can bounce back from painful occurrences, the ones that cut deeply can bend young personalities in an entirely different way for the rest of their lives. As a result, they may turn to drugs or alcohol abuse to recover from the tax of living through trauma.