Childhood Trauma Test: How to Assess and Address Your Past Trauma

Childhood Trauma Test

The definition of trauma is, “an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual's functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.” While all trauma is a deeply distressing experience, trauma that occurs in the early years of life can create long-term impact from events which you may not even remember. If you’ve found yourself with emotional scars and wonder if you suffer from childhood trauma, it may be time to assess and address your past so that you can begin your journey to recovery.


Understanding Childhood Trauma


Trauma that happens during childhood could occur from any number of experiences. Whether you were exposed to some type of abuse or neglect, witnessed violence or were raised with someone suffering from substance abuse, or untreated mental health - any disruption to the normal development of emotions can leave a lifelong impact. It’s important to remember too that there is no singular type of trauma. What may have negatively affected you, may not have had the same result on someone else. Don’t judge your trauma against someone else’s. .


Assessing Childhood Trauma


One tool that is commonly used to assess childhood trauma in adults is the Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire. This set of questions, developed Kaiser Permanente and the CDC, evaluates exposure to various types of experiences during the early years of your life. With ten questions, each one focused on a different aspect of childhood trauma. The higher the score, the most likely that someone has experienced trauma and is having lasting negative effects from it. 


Something to keep in mind when using this questionnaire. It’s best to consult with a mental health professional before taking the test so they can help you best understand the questions and the results. If you’ve scored high on the test, talk with that mental health professional about finding a licensed trauma specialist so you can begin the recovery process. 


Symptoms of Trauma


Utilizing the ACEs questionnaire can be a diagnostic resource. Before you even get to the questions though, you may notice childhood trauma manifesting itself in various symptoms such as: 


  • Emotional and psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Impulsive behavior, self-destructive tendencies, or engaging in risky behaviors.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns or recurring nightmares.
  • Chronic physical health issues without apparent medical causes.
  • Flashbacks, intrusive memories, or a general sense of unease.
  • Hypervigilance, feeling constantly on guard, or experiencing exaggerated startle responses.


If you or a loved one have noticed these symptoms, reach out to a mental health professional and/or a trauma specialist as soon as possible. 


Addressing Childhood Trauma


Professional Help:

Getting in front of and dealing with childhood trauma is best done with the help and guidance of a trauma specialist or mental health professional. Someone who is qualified in handling trauma and PTSD and can safely guide you to healing. Recovery from trauma is not a quick process, nor one that should be entered into lightly. Because of this, it’s important to have a treatment plan from start to finish. During this plan expect to explore your emotions, relive and process traumatic memories, and create coping mechanisms that are helpful and healthy. Should the need arise for CBT or EMDR, it’s important to find a licensed practitioner. 


Build a Support Network:

During this time of healing, immersing yourself into a network of support that involves family and friends can be helpful. As you work through old traumatic memories, it’s important to talk openly about your experiences to those you trust. Receiving empathy, understanding and validation can help with the healing process and provide comfort when things get tough. Making use of support groups that are centered around trauma survivors can provide a layer of accountability and connection with others who are going through the same thing. 


Practice Self-Care:

While you’re spending a lot of time diving deep into your brain, it’s important to spend just as much time caring for your body and spirit. Activities like exercising, mindfulness meditation, journaling, art, or other hobbies that induce relaxation, self-expression and overall wellness. 

Self-care plays a vital role in the healing process.


Finding Freedom


Making the decision to face your childhood trauma is a bold and courageous way to free yourself from the past. Remember that this process isn’t something that is going to resolve itself overnight. Healing takes time, patience and support but with the right tools and professional assistance, you can be on your way to a healthier, happier you. 


If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of childhood trauma, help is available. For help and support, call our team today.