Researchers find link between childhood trauma, schizophrenia

Mar 12, 2018 16:24 IST
Researchers find link between childhood trauma, schizophrenia

Researchers have found a link between childhood trauma and schizophrenia that could open new paths of treatment for people diagnosed with the disorder.

The researchers from Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence for Youth Mental Health; the University of Melbourne; Port Phillip Prison and University Hospital of Gran Canaria Dr. Negrin, Spain, have found that childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse is associated with severe hallucinations in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

According to the study’s lead author Dr. Sarah Bendall, the study’s major finding was that the hallucinations in psychotic disorders were associated with all types of childhood trauma. "This means there's something about childhood trauma that leads some people to develop hallucinations," she explained.

Study: Key Highlights

• The meta-analysis, which involved analysis of 29 studies on childhood trauma and psychotic symptoms, also found that childhood sexual abuse was associated with delusions.

• The study provides the missing link for clinicians who have long theorised about the association between childhood trauma and hallucinations and delusions.

• This evidence is a crucial first step in developing tailored, sensitive and effective treatments for trauma-based psychotic symptoms.

• About one in every 100 people is expected to experience a psychotic disorder in their lives, with the majority developing symptoms when they are between the age of 18 and 25 years.



The symptoms of the Psychotic disorder include detachment from reality, hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking and lack of motivation or emotion.

The treatments for trauma in psychosis have until now mainly focussed on post-traumatic stress disorder rather than specific symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.

Hence, the new research would not only help refine treatments for patients with psychotic disorders but may also help to empower young patients.

The study was published in the journal called Schizophrenia Bulletin.


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