THIS Is the Biggest Factor ‘By Far’ Contributing to Mental Health Disorders
New study's evidence shows increase in the risk for depression, drug abuse, suicide and alcohol abuse, as well as reduced life expectancy
January 29, 2020
It’s no secret that childhood trauma can have a major impact on an adult’s mental health, but a new study suggests it is the single biggest factor.
Authors of a paper published in the January issue of American Journal of Psychiatry reviewed a large body of literature investigating the effects of childhood maltreatment — including neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse — and described it as “by far” the leading cause of poor adult health, both mental and physical.
Co-author Charles Nemeroff, MD, PhD, professor and chair, department of psychiatry at Dell’s Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, and director of its Institute for Early Life Adversity Research, found “maltreatment increases the risk for depression, drug abuse, suicide, alcohol abuse, and it also worsens the course of all psychiatric disorders that have been looked at.”
Additionally, childhood maltreatment is associated with poor treatment outcomes in patients with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or bipolar disorder, while also associated with reduced life expectancy due to higher risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
Nemeroff told Medscape Medical News that although a patients’ childhood trauma “may never come to clinical attention,” their experience can have “devastating consequences on health.”
“It’s extremely important for clinicians to get a detailed childhood trauma history of a patient so they know what they’re dealing with,” he said. “Many patients don’t volunteer information, particularly during the first visit, about whether they have had any adverse early childhood experiences.”
It is estimated that one in four individuals experiences childhood maltreatment, yet most cases are unreported.
Nemeroff added, “We need to try to understand how best to treat these patients because they don’t respond well to conventional treatments — medication or psychotherapies.”
About the Writer:
Greg Gilman spent nearly a decade as an entertainment news reporter and editor for publications including TheWrap and TMZ’s TooFab. He left that life behind at the start of 2019, and spent the year detoxing his mind from the pop culture poison that had accumulated over the last decade. Now, he’s focused on writing pieces that are more beneficial for the world around him, in between gigs as the frontman of LA rock band, Greg in Good Company. He has suffered from depression and anxiety, and is still trying to conquer an addiction to screens and social media, but has found studying Eastern spiritual philosophies to be tremendously helpful in his quest for peace of mind.
This site is for educational purposes and not a substitute for professional medical care by a doctor or otherwise qualified medical professional. The information provided by Outlier Magazine is on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.