Most people suffer from at least one traumatic event at some point in their lives. Trauma can significantly reduce your mental health and quality of life for the worse. From fracturing relationships to reducing your mental health and well-being, without a doubt, any type of trauma has the potential to impair your health and happiness.
Generational trauma is a type of trauma that involves trauma that is essentially passed down from generation to generation. For example, slavery or genocide are traumatic experiences that can be passed down. In this article, you’ll learn more about the impact of generational trauma and why it is essential to seek treatment if you are struggling with trauma.
At Hammocks on the Edisto, we are a women’s treatment center in South Carolina committed to providing individualized treatment for women on their recovery journey. We offer a range of comprehensive addiction services to best provide women with a range of treatment options that can help them overcome addiction and live a long-term life of sobriety. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your road to recovery.
What is Generational Trauma?
Before diving into the impact of generational trauma, it’s important to define what generational trauma is. Generational trauma is when parents pass down their trauma from generation to generation, almost as if trauma is genetic (thus the name of the mental illness). The impact of generational trauma can be passed down to multiple generations. In other words, generational trauma doesn’t necessarily just refer to trauma passed down from parents to kids. It involves a series of generations over many years.
Examples of generational trauma include trauma experiences typically passed down from a traumatic historical event such as war, genocide, slavery, and more. For example, your great-grandparent may have been placed in a concentration camp during WW2. Although you yourself didn’t directly experience the traumatic events of being in a concentration camp yourself, you still feel the emotional strain and hardship your family member(s) felt in the past.
The impact of generational trauma can be detrimental to your overall health and well-being. Read on to learn more about the four negative effects generational trauma can have on your life.
4 Effects of Generational Trauma
Risk of Developing a Mental Disorder
From anxiety to depression, PTSD, and more, generational trauma increases your risk of experiencing negative effects and can potentially increase your risk of developing a mental illness, especially if left untreated. Although generational trauma does not directly correlate to developing mental illness, it does increase your risk and can overall negatively impact your mental health and well-being for the worse.
Risk of Substance Abuse
Generational trauma is emotionally straining and has the potential to harm your mental health and well-being, as discussed above significantly. Therefore, unfortunately, if left untreated, generational trauma can potentially increase your risk of abusing drugs or alcohol as a means to cope with your trauma. While abusing substances short-term may subside the adverse effects of generational trauma, abusing substances will not treat your condition. It can lead to you developing a substance use disorder over time.
Continued Abuse, Violence, or Oppression
Depending on the form of generational trauma that has been passed down to you, you can experience continued abuse, violence, or oppression yourself. Although it may not be nearly as great a scale as your family before you experienced, there may still be continued oppression that stems from the traumatic historical event. For example, if your family passed down generational trauma from slavery years ago, you may still experience discrimination to a certain extent because of your race today.
Last but not least, generational trauma can cause you to experience reduced self-esteem. Again, although you were not directly exposed to the traumatic event, you can still experience impaired self-esteem due to still feeling that emotional strain and hardship passed down for generations before you.
Help Is Available
If you are struggling with the negative impact of generational trauma, or another mental illness, it’s essential to not ignore or feel ashamed about what you are going through– help is available. At Hammocks on the Edisto, we are a women-only facility that helps women on their recovery journey. We offer a range of women’s addiction treatment programs so you can receive the best possible care to help you along your road to recovery.Struggling with mental illness or addiction? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you lead a happier, healthier life.