What Is Generational Trauma?

Trauma affects people in many ways, and many people struggle to process trauma – leading to emotional and physical health effects. However, there are different types of trauma and one of them is generational trauma. Just as some people inherit certain physical traits or characteristics, trauma can also be passed down through generations, leading people who belong to a certain group to experience the same feelings of trauma. 

This article takes a closer look at generational trauma and the help that is available through Peaks Recovery.

What is Generational Trauma?

The World Health Organization has carried out a study that shows that more than 70% of people will experience a traumatic event in their lives, with many going on to suffer from trauma. Generational trauma occurs when people experience the effects of trauma caused by something that has happened to their family or previous generations. For some people, this can be due to an isolated event. For others, ongoing or prolonged events, such as war or discrimination, can also lead to generational trauma.

What are the Signs of Generational Trauma?

While people experience trauma in different ways, there are some common signs of generational trauma to be aware of, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Substance abuse
  • Behavioral changes, including mood swings, inability to focus, etc
  • Issues with trust and forming new relationships
  • Physical health problems, including cardiovascular disease and chronic pain

What are Some Examples of Generational Trauma?

Unfortunately, there are many things that can cause generational trauma, including events that have been well-documented throughout history, including:

Violence or oppression

Many groups of people will have suffered violence or oppression in the past, and this is one of the leading causes of generational trauma. These events can have a lasting impact on generations, who fear reliving the experience, as well as dealing with unaddressed feelings and symptoms.

Being forced to flee home

Known as cultural dislocation, some people experience trauma due to being forced to leave their homes, in addition to the events that made leaving necessary in the first place. 

Experiencing a traumatic event

Events such as war or a natural disaster can have an impact on those who experienced these events first-hand, but it can also lead to generational trauma. There can be a lasting impact on families and generations, but a failure to overcome trauma can also lead to behaviors that can cause trauma in other generations, including abuse and neglect.

Barriers to success

Many people face barriers to success in life because of who they are or where they come from. Racism, homophobia and even sexism can have an impact on generations, who may experience a sense of shared trauma due to these events. 

What Causes Generational Trauma?

The cycle of generational trauma usually begins as the result of a difficult or disturbing event, leading to symptoms of trauma. This trauma is then passed on through generations. It can even have an impact on genetics, with some genes being altered due to epigenetic changes – the way your body responds to your DNA. 

Risk Factors for Generational Trauma

Generational trauma can impact anyone, but it is particularly apparent in people who may have experienced:

  • Difficult childhood experiences
  • Racism
  • Discrimination
  • Natural disaster
  • Terrorism
  • Abuse (including emotional and sexual)
  • War
  • Poverty

Treating Generational Trauma

There are different ways to treat generational trauma, which can involve talking therapies, medication, lifestyle changes, etc. The aim of treatment for generational trauma is to accept the trauma, respond to signs and symptoms and find a way to recover and heal to help reduce the impact of trauma.

Seeking treatment can be a vital first step towards recovery, helping people get great clarity around how certain events affect them, and what they can do to manage their trauma symptoms. People may seek individual treatment, or even seek group treatment by bringing families and groups together.

Trauma Treatment at Peaks Recovery

At Peaks Recovery, we provide professional trauma treatment programs that are designed to help those who have suffered from different types of trauma, including generational trauma. Our trauma treatment program is a key step towards healing and recovery, helping people overcome their symptoms to move forward with their lives in a healthy way.

The program aims to achieve stabilization and uses active treatments to help people process their trauma and find healthy ways to heal. From talking therapies to advising on wellbeing and diet, we can help sufferers get the treatment they need in many ways.
Find out more about our generational trauma treatment and get in touch with Peaks Recovery today.

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.