Kids and Trauma

There is an old proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Although the exact origin of the proverb is unknown, its meaning is clear. It takes more than one person to teach a child about life. This saying is especially apropos with children dealing with trauma. Do to their unique and complicated situation, it takes more than one profession to help unwind the trauma. This is because trauma is usually multi-faceted. Some professions which could be involved in treating trauma may be Western MD’s, psychologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, nutritionists, and Chinese Medicine. Each of the professions is specialized in different areas of human health.

First we’ll look at one aspect of trauma in children and young adults and then we’ll look at Chinese Medicine and how its specialization helps with rehabilitation in children dealing with trauma.

Children dealing with trauma are dealing with the results of stress. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting itself and is a normal physical response to events that may make you feel threatened. Stress without relief, very strong emotional wounds or shock can create an extreme stress response within the person which can cause widespread damage to their health. For children dealing with trauma, their stress levels are usually out of control and have caused significant harm to their overall health.

Cognitive SignsEmotional Signs
Memory issuesMoodiness
Inability to concentrateIrritability or short temper
Poor judgmentAgitation, inability to relax
See only the negativeFeeling overwhelmed
Anxious or racing thoughtsSense of loneliness or isolation
Constant worryDepression of unhappiness
Physical SignsBehavioral Signs
Aches and painsEating more or less
Diarrhea or constipationSleeping too much or too little
Nausea, dizzinessIsolating yourself from others
Chest pain, rapid heartbeatProcrastinating
Frequent coldsUsing alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
Uncontroled movementNervous habits (biting nails, pacing)

Chronic, long-term stress has been proven to weaken the body and its defenses. Probably the most well-known example in adults is heart disease and heart attacks.

When the body is in balance, our emotions, behavior, thought processes, and body functions well. As different organ channels become over-taxed, their channel energy can become exhausted. Just like we can’t hold up a forty pound dumbbell forever, our bodies can’t hold up to stress for forever. At some point, our arms will become exhausted and drop the dumb bell. When our body becomes exhausted it starts showing more and more signs of stress that is out of control.

Chinese Medicine specializes in rebuilding and rebalancing. Through the use of acupuncture, herbs, cupping, moxa and other techniques, Chinese Medicine can focus on organ channels that are most affected in your child and help strengthen and rebalance them allowing your child more energy to focus on addressing their trauma and rebuilding their self-image.

A simple example of how stress impacts our ability to focus on rehabilitation is with anxiety. Constant anxiety makes it very difficult to complete day to day tasks, let alone try to focus on and address emotions which cause extreme stress.

With rehabilitation you have to put up a fight. You have to fight for or work for your health and that takes strength. Chinese Medicine with its ability to focus on rebuilding and rebalancing helps give kids the strength they need to start fighting for themselves and their own health. Within an overall program and a supportive environment, Chinese Medicine can be a critical difference in progressing through their rehabilitation.