Effect of abuse on the brain
Teicher, Martin H. Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program and Laboratory of Developmental Psychopharmacology, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Belmont, Massachusetts.
- Sensitive periods
- Silent period
- Unique effects
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A vast body of literature supports the idea that early adversities, such as childhood sexual abuse (CSA), physical abuse, and witnessing domestic violence, are major risk factors for psychopathology, accounting for 50–75% of the population-attributable risk for depression, suicide attempts, and drug abuse. The powerful relationship between childhood abuse and psychopathology may be best understood as a cascade. Exposure to early adversity alters trajectories of brain development, which in turn leads to social, emotional, and cognitive impairment, followed by the adoption of health-risk behaviors.
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