Having suffered a childhood trauma can triple the risk of having a serious mental disorder as an adult.

A study conducted by researchers at the Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM) has collected some 93,000 cases that reveal a direct relationship between the fact of suffering from a psychological trauma as a child with the risk of developing a mental health problem years later. According to the work, which also involved researchers from the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (Brazil)having suffered a childhood trauma can even triple the risk of suffering a serious mental disorder as an adult.

In addition, the paper also highlights the fact that other traumas such as. catastrophes, violent deaths or family abuse. can affect individuals, thus generating structural and functional changes of their brain that open the door to suffer these pathologies in the future. In view of these results, the researcher and psychologist Bridget Hoggfirst author of the paper, has advocated a healthcare approach that takes into account the biography of patients, so that their life history is taken into account when treating them. “Now we ask what doesn’t work, but not what happened in their life, because that implies opening up potentially painful topics and is avoided,” she says.

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The study associates childhood traumas such as emotional abuse with anxiety, but also links pediatric-age traumas and other pathologies such as the psychosiswhich is linked to all the traumas, the obsessive-compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder. They especially emphasize the risk of suffering borderline personality disorderThe authors have concluded that the risk of suffering from borderline personality disorder increases up to fifteen times if there is a previous childhood trauma.

The IMIM analyzes reviews and research published so far in peer-reviewed journals. In fact, their study has been published in the journal ‘European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience‘, and has the particularity of being the first to take into account the whole range of existing mental disorders. Dr. Benedikt Amannlead author of the paper and mental health researcher at the Hospital del Mar, claims that so far, his work “is the strongest evidence to date that psychological trauma is a risk factor for later mental disorder,” he says.

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Amann has also made an appeal to the administrations to. invest more in prevention. “We must help families in education and establish programs to prevent cases of school abuse, which is a risk factor for suffering an adult mental disorder both for those who receive it and for those who exercise it,” he concludes.

According to the study, the most common traumas that people have in their childhood are the. abuse emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as bullying, among many others. The fact is that suffering one of these situations generates damage on a brain scale, which leaves a physical, but also a psychological sequel, in the form of various disorders. Trauma in adulthood is also associated with a four times higher risk of subsequent mental disorder, although the researchers point out that the evidence collected in this type of pathology is less.

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