This common condition can be at the root of many other issues

Trauma Explained

Trauma can stem from a single event or a series of traumatic events that are repeated over a period of time, causing individuals to suffer overwhelming painful, frightening, or loathing emotions. Experiencing trauma during childhood while the brain is still developing can have severe and long-lasting effects that – if left untreated – can carry over into adulthood. The negative impact of childhood trauma is deep, long-lasting, and often devastating.

Teens and young adults may be exposed to a wide range of experiences that cause trauma. Physical abuse, bullying, or sexual abuse can have a lasting negative impact. Abandonment, whether from an addicted, emotionally absent, or disapproving parent, can leave emotional scars that remain into adulthood. The death of a loved one, a divorce, or other loss can result in devastating grief. Even something as seemingly positive as adoption can cause emotional issues as some adoptees struggle with identity issues, feelings of abandonment, or questions of self-worth.

Trauma sufferers often struggle with:

  • Relationships
  • Emotional challenges
  • Low self-esteem
  • Addiction


Emotional abandonment usually results from the behavior of significant others, predominantly parents. It may be inflicted unconsciously, as a result of addiction or mental illness in the family, or as a conscious rejection due to lifestyle choices or sexual identity.



Often experienced in early childhood without conscious awareness or recognition by the time the adopted child becomes a young adult the effects are still felt on a very profound level coupled with present-day emotional dysregulation and relational difficulties.

Adoption issues


Today’s bullying has extended from an in-person experience to a constant online assault via social media, and the impact is nothing short of devastating for its many victims, causing psychological and emotional damage.


Individuals suffering from codependency repress their emotions and needs to the point they are subjected to relationship trauma and extremely low self-esteem. Codependency causes sufferers to ignore their own needs while constantly fulfilling the needs of others.

Grief & Loss

Loss may include the death of a loved one, but it also encompasses major life changes including the loss of a relationship or experiencing a serious illness. Grief is natural and the impact varies, but it can leave us stuck if we don’t process it appropriately.

Grief or loss in young adult

Emotional Trauma

Emotional trauma pertains to a person’s thoughts, feelings, and memories related to the traumatic event he or she experienced. These may grow in complexity over time, and symptoms may cause severe distress to the individual.


PTSD is an anxiety disorder that stems from life-threatening events or psychological trauma. Individuals who experience sudden, unprovoked, and disturbing memory flashbacks or have repeated nightmares might be suffering from PTSD.

Treatment for Trauma and PTSD - Claudia Black Center

Relational Issues

In spite of age, the young adult is often experiencing trauma in the context of intimate relationships. is a painful, compulsive, and addictive disorder that negatively impacts both the addict and the object of his or her obsession. is an inability or refusal to show love for someone for fear of being hurt. Love avoidants guard themselves in relationships.

Relational issues for young adults

Physical or Sexual Abuse

Young adults frequently enter treatment with shame-based secrets and the most common one is having experienced sexual or physical abuse. This may include molestation, incest, date rape, or physical beatings and harm at the hands of a loved one or stranger.

Beyond Theory Podcast

Meadows Senior Fellow Dr. Claudia Black explains why chronic, ongoing trauma can be very damaging to a child’s development and lead to emotional dysregulation. We also have a conversation about why the power of storytelling can be impactful in conveying the emotional truth of traumatic experiences.


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