Summary: Childhood trauma significantly increases the risk of later being diagnosed with a mental health disorder. For emotionally abused children, the most prevalent disorder is anxiety. Trauma has increased risks for psychosis, OCD, and bipolar disorder. People who experience childhood trauma are 15 times more likely to develop BPD later in life.

Source: IMIM

A study led by researchers at the Hospital Del Mar Medical Research Institute links childhood psychological trauma to an increased risk of developing some type of mental disorder later in life.

Childhood trauma greatly increases the risk of developing mental illness in adulthood. Specifically, up to three times, according to a recent study led by researchers at the Hospital Del Mar Medical Research Institute published in the Journal. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.

The study analyzes the fourteen reviews and meta-analyses published to date in specialized journals on this topic and is the first to comprehensively consider current mental disorders.

In total, the analyzed studies included more than 93,000 cases, showing a direct link between childhood psychological trauma and the risk of mental pathology later in life.

“This is the strongest evidence to date that psychological distress is indeed a risk factor for mental disorders,” said Dr. Benedikt Amann, researcher at the IMM-Hospital Mental Health Research Group, del Mar and CIBER on Mental Health (CIBERSAM).

The most common childhood traumas are emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as emotional or physical neglect and bullying, although there are many others.

One of these conditions affects the brain, causing physical and psychological damage in the form of various diseases. In terms of emotional abuse, the most common type of emotional abuse is related to the most widespread feelings of anxiety in the population.

But there is a connection between childhood pain and other diseases such as psychosis, which is associated with all trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder.

If you experience childhood trauma, your risk of developing borderline personality disorder increases up to fifteen times.

This is a sad little boy.
Childhood trauma greatly increases the risk of developing mental illness in adulthood. The image is in the public domain.

Trauma in adulthood quadruples the risk of later mental disorders. But the researchers point out that there is a lot of evidence for this type of pathology.

Study the history of the victim

Looking at these results, Bridget Hogg, a researcher at the IMIM-Hospital del Mar, a psychologist and the first author of the study, believes that patients need an approach that takes into account not only their physical conditions, but also their history.

From this point of view, “it is necessary to guide the patient through their life story, to accurately assess what has happened to them. We ask not what has happened in their life now, but what is not working, because this requires opening up issues that can cause pain and must be removed.

The research highlights how other events such as natural disasters, violent deaths or family violence can affect people, causing structural and functional changes in the brain that open the door to future mental disorders.

In addition, the course of the disease is worse for people with this type of pathology who have already been injured. For these reasons, Dr. Aman called for action.

“On the one hand, we need to treat psychological trauma in our patients, but we also need to act on political and social issues and invest more in prevention. For example, by educating families and developing programs to prevent bullying, it is a very important risk for those who accept and commit mental disorders,” he said.

So neurodevelopmental and mental health research news

Author: Press office
Source: IMIM
Contact: Press Office – IMIM
Image: The image is in the public domain.

Preliminary study: Closed access.
Psychological trauma as a transdiagnostic risk factor for psychiatric disorders: an umbrella meta-analysis.” by Bridget Hogg et al European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience

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Psychological trauma as a transdiagnostic risk factor for psychiatric disorders: an umbrella meta-analysis.

This umbrella review is the first to systematically examine psychological trauma as a transdiagnostic risk factor in psychiatric conditions. We searched the Pubmed, Scopus and PsycNET databases from inception to 01/05/2021 to find systematic reviews/meta-analyses that assessed the association between psychological trauma and at least one known mental disorder.

We recalculated the odds ratio (OR), then classified the association as plausible, highly suggestive, suggestive, or weak, by number of cases and controls with and without psychological trauma, random-effects. Page Value, 95% confidence interval of the largest study, between-study difference, 95% prediction interval, small study effect and excess significance bias.

Additional results are an analysis of the relationship between specific types of trauma and specific mental illnesses and the impact of childhood trauma. Transdiagnostics were evaluated using the TRANSD criteria.

The review was first registered under Prospero CRD42020157308 and followed the PRISMA/MOOSE guidelines.

Fourteen reviews comprising 16,277 cases and 77,586 controls met the inclusion criteria. Psychological trauma met the TRANSD criteria as transdiagnostic with a variety of diagnostic criteria and perspectives.

There was highly suggestive evidence of a relationship between psychological trauma at any time-point and any mental disorder (OR = 2.92) and between childhood trauma and any mental disorder (OR = 2.90).

Regarding specific types of trauma, there is strong evidence linking physical abuse (OR = 2.36) and sexual abuse (OR = 3.47) with various mental disorders, and strong evidence linking emotional abuse with anxiety disorders (OR = 3.05). There was no information about emotional abuse with other diseases.

These findings highlight the importance of preventing early traumatic events and providing trauma-informed care in early intervention and psychiatric services.

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