Identifying Trauma in Adults

When transitioning into adulthood, childhood trauma can leave a long lasting impression. It doesn’t always stay in the past and it’s negative side effects can often carry on into adult life. Child sexual abuse can be one of the triggers that causes someone to carry such trauma. There are different ways trauma can be expressed and effects adults. 

Re-experience the traumatic event. 

Some adults will replay the event in their head using images, memories, and even sensations. The experience can cause major anxiety because to them, it has never really ended. It can happen during nightmares, flashbacks, or daydreams. The victim will find it incontrollable and repetitive which causes them to have internal flares.


Hyperarousal is most commonly associated with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These symptoms are revealed in irritability, outbursts, insomnia, and even panic attacks. These symptoms can hinder someone’s emotional peace and growth. 

Avoid reminders of the trauma.

Usually, victims take themselves out of areas that remind themselves of the trauma they’ve experienced. Even things such as smells, conversations, and noises will turn them away. This can cause someone to withdrawal themselves socially and be disconnected with their surroundings and even relationships. This can often be ‘self-medicated’ with substance abuse. 


It is common for adults to suppress their emotions about the event. The anger from being the victim of child sexual abuse can take toll on someone. It can cause them to be angry with others and use them as a punching bag. The victim will express themselves in an unhealthy way because of their emotional build up. 


A victim might neglect themselves by expressing their anger and hurt in a negative way. They will not give themselves the care they need because they fear being unnoticed or unloved. Being passive is just as harmful as being passive-aggressive. 

Introducing a false self.

Victims of trauma may act like it never happened. They will put up a front that they are okay when in reality they aren’t. It is hard to recognize but they will avoid talking about the situation and not get any help to heal from it. They will internalize their emotions which will then also hinder their self-growth. 

What to do.

If you see a family member or a loved one suffering from one of these side effects, try to talk to them about it. If they don’t want your help, contact a professional so they can properly heal. Sometimes it’s about getting the closure you need and other times it’s about getting justice. It is not too late to come forward. There are people out there that are willing and want to help in situations like these. For more information on legal help, contact us