Telehealth video appointments now available in all of our states UT, ID, WA, OR, NV, AZ & FL!

Childhood trauma can triple one's risk of mental illness

Childhood trauma can triple one's risk of mental illness


Childhood trauma and mental illness: what's the link?

People suffer from mental disorders for many reasons, and some are even unknown. Certain factors can also predispose one to mental illness, and one of these factors is childhood trauma.

New research shows that people who experienced trauma in childhood are three times more likely to develop a mental health disorder later in life.

The study looked at over 93,000 cases and revealed a direct link between childhood trauma and mental illness during adulthood.

This is a serious problem because many children battle serious trauma ranging from physical and emotional abuse to bullying and the loss of a parent.

Common childhood trauma and associated mental disorders

The most common traumas children experience are physical abuse, emotional abuse (such as neglect), sexual abuse, and bullying, but there are also many others. A child who loses both parents or has a near-death experience might be broken well into adulthood. Such awful experiences cause severe damage to the child's brain that they grow up with, leading to certain mental disorders. How they think and react to certain triggers are altered long-term.

Children who experience emotional abuse usually develop anxiety later in life. There is also a link between childhood trauma and psychosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder. For people who experience childhood trauma, the risk of borderline personality disorder increases up to fifteen times.

Additionally, for people who have suffered childhood trauma, the symptoms of their mental illness are usually worse.

Without a doubt, childhood trauma has so many consequences that it deserves more attention than it currently gets.

Checking the history of a mental health patient is crucial

We have seen cases where a patient suffering from depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder experiences little or no changes even after using virtually all treatment methods. Most times, unfortunately, treatments focus on the physical and present situation rather than looking at the past. We ask what isn't working without trying to identify what has happened in their life.

In cases where a mental disorder stems from childhood trauma, traditional treatment options may have very little effect.

But the greatest challenge is that some of these childhood traumas are so gruesome that talking about it can open deep mental wounds and cause great pain to the patient that they're unwilling to ever open up. Talk about catastrophic deaths and child abuse.

Preventing it from the roots

"Prevention is better than cure." Perhaps the greatest thing society can do with this discovery is to take actions that reduce the rate of childhood trauma. For example, programs can be set up to educate parents on ways to prevent bullying, a mental health risk factor that can affect both the perpetrator and the victim. Child neglect and physical and emotional abuse should also be discouraged.

If fewer kids are exposed to childhood trauma, we could see fewer adults developing mental disorders in the future.

Need help? We are here for you. Feel free to reach out to us now.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

You Might Also Enjoy...