Schizophrenia Associated With Childhood Trauma


Research Study from the University of Liverpool discovered children who experienced trauma had three times higher risk of suffering from schizophrenia.

Although in recent studies, biological factors have always been the focus behind mental conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychosis, there has been increasing evidence which suggests these mental conditions can be fully understood by first looking into the person's life experiences.

The research is first of its kind which gathered information from 27,000 research studies linking child trauma and the development of psychosis. These studies were mainly grouped into three types: (1) addressing the progress of children who had adversities; (2) studies of randomly selected population; (3) and studies on psychotic patients who were questioned about their childhood.

All the three types of study had similar conclusions. People who had experienced childhood trauma before the age of 16 had three times higher risks of becoming psychotic in adulthood as compared to those who experienced it to a lesser extent.

According to Richard Bentall from the University of Liverpool, "the cause of psychotic disorders...are still a controversy amongst psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians," which results to different interpretations. For example, one psychiatrist may define the illness to be bipolar, and the other schizophrenia.

"Our findings suggest that studies on the neurological and genetic factors associated with these conditions, which are not yet fully understood, are more like to advance our knowledge if we take into account a patient's life experiences." added Bentall.

"Now that we know environment is a major factor in psychosis and that there are direct links between specific experiences and symptoms of the condition, looking at the brain or genes only is unlikely to tell us what we need to know in order to treat a patient effectively."

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