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Childhood Trauma Linked To Mental Health Issues

October 26, 2012

In Medical News Today I found an article titled Early Childhood Trauma Takes Visible Toll On Brain posted on October 18th, 2012In this article we are given information that shows that trauma in infancy or childhood will increase the risk of mental disorders and also stress related conditions in adulthood. The research shows that communication between body control brain areas can be realigned when children are physically abused. This can cause adult cardiovascular disease and mental health problems. We also are presented with information showing that childhood poverty being associated with working memory changes and attention changes into adult years. Lastly the article gives us evidence that chronic amounts of stress in infancy can lead to fearful and aggressive behaviors as the child grows up. 

This article was interesting because it provides concrete evidence that what happens in our infancy and childhood can affect us as we get older. Situations which occur, even when the child is too young to remember, will affect children as they enter into adulthood. I found it interesting that childhood trauma can cause issues with memory and attention. I question if children with ADD or ADHD have a high correlation between children who suffered from chronic trauma in infancy. I would like to see the results of a study looking at this sort of information. When reading this article I looked at the information which showed that high stress amounts in infancy can lead to fearful and aggressive behavior. This in my mind relates back to children with Operational Defiance Disorder. There are many areas of this article where they should have expanded on ideas and labels of which traumas can cause certain mental health issues.

I looked up some more information and found an article in Stanford School of Medicine. This article provides information that states that childhood trauma is linked to higher rates of mental health problems and also obesity. This article finds that children who experience found different types of trauma are 30 times more likely to have learning and behavior problems. Also they found that 30% of children in violent communities can suffer from symptoms such as post traumatic stress disorder, but if a doctor is unaware of the child’s trauma the child is often diagnosed with ADHD. This article stresses the idea of doctors screening children for trauma. One issue with this is if the parents are present when the child is screened for trauma the child may be less likely to admit to problems at home. Often time I find it important to survey children about trauma when the parents or guardians are not present. Children may be more likely to speak up if they feel safe. 

Overall these two articles provided evidence that what happens when we are children follows us into adulthood. I find it important for parents to keep chronic stress out of their child’s life in the best way they can. Sometimes this may be difficult. 

-Kimberly Langley

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2012 7:34 pm

    I find the topic you wrote about so interesting. As a psych major currently studying trauma in one of my classes, we talk about this all the time. We’ve learned that those who suffer some sort of childhood trauma usually end up with poorer mental and physical health and that these are connected in a way. For example, if a person ends up with high anxiety, they may resort to smoking cigarettes as his or her coping mechanism. This coping mechanism then turns into a life long habit and the trauma survivor can develop COPD, lung cancer, or even die from the effects of smoking. As a society, we really need to work harder on offering different types of support to victims of trauma instead of putting them in therapist offices, medicating them and letting them cope alone. We need to listen to their stories and spend time with them to help them integrate more smoothly back into the world.

    Lindsay Mesplay

  2. October 29, 2012 6:46 pm

    I also found this post particularly interesting and *sociological*. When so much of the media focus (and some researchers’) focus is on *genetic* or *environmental* contributors to illness, it’s important to realize that perhaps the more potent answers lie not in our genes or even so much in what we eat (though I don’t deny their importance!), but rather in how we live and interact with each other. Sociologists have long focused on the difference between proximate causes of death (i.e., cancer) and fundamental causes (i.e., inequality or trauma). Prof Replogle

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