Is It Ever Too Late To Address Childhood Trauma as an Adult?

Is It Ever Too Late To Address Childhood Trauma as an Adult?

The negative effects of childhood trauma can last into adulthood. After all, the ACE Study, which has explored the impact of negative childhood experiences, such as not having enough to eat, being exposed to parental substance abuse, or being a victim of traumas like physical and sexual abuse, has shown that adults who have a history of these negative events are more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, depression, suicide attempts, poor physical health, and risky sexual behavior. 


Some adults with a history of childhood trauma may worry that it’s too late for them to seek treatment. They may feel defeated as if they can do nothing to heal from the trauma. Fortunately, there are a number of effective interventions for treating trauma, and it’s never too late to reach out for help. 

What the Research Says About Healing from Childhood Trauma

If you’re asking if it’s too late for you to heal from childhood trauma once you reach adulthood, it’s helpful to understand what the research says about addressing trauma as an adult. A recent research report in The Lancet Psychiatry evaluated the results of 54 different studies with adults experiencing depression symptoms. The results of the evaluated studies revealed the following:


  • Adults with a history of trauma obtained equal benefit from depression treatment compared to those with no trauma history. 
  • Pharmacotherapy (medication) and psychotherapy were found to be beneficial for addressing depression in adults with a history of childhood trauma.
  • Individuals who experienced trauma as children had more severe depression symptoms when compared to those without a trauma history, but they still experienced equal benefit from treatment. 


Based upon these results, it is entirely possible for adults with a child trauma history to improve with treatment. Reaching out for professional intervention can reduce the negative impact of trauma and help with moving toward healing. 


Working With Childhood Trauma

If you’re experiencing symptoms related to unresolved childhood trauma, the truth is that it’s never too late to seek help. Reaching out to a mental health professional is the first step in healing. While trauma affects each person differently, it is associated with a number of negative consequences, including substance misuse, disordered eating, reduced well-being, and poor health. In many cases, the costs of not reaching out for help are much higher than the cost of seeking treatment. 


The good news is that there are numerous effective, evidence-based treatments (SEE NOTES) that can address trauma from childhood. Common treatments include both individual and group-based therapy, where patients can process past experiences and learn healthy coping strategies. Many patients also benefit from holistic or adjunctive treatment options, like yoga and meditation, and some take medication to treat symptoms related to depression or anxiety. 


The best treatment for you will depend upon your individual circumstances and needs. In many cases, patients benefit from a combination of different treatment modalities, such as therapy paired with medication. A mental health professional or a physician with experience treating psychiatric conditions can help you devise a treatment plan that best suits your needs. 

Begin Your Healing Journey Today 


If you’re ready to begin your journey of healing from trauma, Bridge to Balance is here to help. We offer outpatient therapy services in New Jersey, with offices in Voorhees, Hamilton, and Piscataway. We have recently expanded our office locations to include Portland, Maine, and we offer trauma-specific interventions, including EMDR and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Contact us today to connect with one of our trauma-informed clinicians. 






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