Childhood Trauma can affect a young person in a variety of ways.
Traumatic experiences are transformative. It is not a question of if, but of how these experiences will affect countless lives. Researchers have found that when the developing brain is chronically stressed, it releases a hormone that shrinks the size of the hippocampus; an area of the brain responsible for processing emotion, storing memory, and managing stress (Nakazawa, 2015). In other words, trauma has the power to reshape the brain’s structure and function, and children are especially vulnerable to these changes.
Because of the effect that high doses of trauma can have on the young brain, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have been linked to numerous long-term outcomes including alcoholism, drug abuse, poor physical health, obesity, depression, and suicide. There is also evidence that kids who have endured a great deal of adversity are more likely to struggle in school and to face other emotional and behavioral challenges. Unfortunately, Idaho is one of the highest-ranking states for its prevalence of kids with high ACE scores.
Still, this scene is far from hopeless. At Idaho Youth Ranch, we know that treatment makes a difference. By treating childhood trauma through therapy and other methods, we help kids turn pain into strength – the strength of resilience, fortitude, and confidence. In doing so, we can transform many angry, scared, young people into highly resilient and capable adults.