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Childhood adversity and adult health problems, a costly link

At times of severe cuts to services it is worth pointing out that, if not treated, early experiences of maltreatment, abuse and neglect can cause terrible problems later on, problems that have a huge cost to society. It is increasingly common knowledge that adverse early experiences, like abuse, neglect and exposure to violence, can play havoc with people’s mental health and affect them right into adulthood. For example a massive recent study from the University of Liverpool  [1] analysed findings going back some 30 years, looking at 27,000 research papers and found conclusive evidence that early childhood trauma hugely increases the risks of these children growing into adults who will suffer from schizophrenia. The risk was at least 3 times greater for those abused, but the worse the trauma the more the likelihood, in some cases extreme trauma increasing the likelihood by up to 50 times. Another recently published study [2] described how early child maltreatment, whether sexual, physical or emotional abuse, or neglect,  badly effects peoples’ later romantic relationships, leading people to feel less fulfilled in relationships, and much of the effect was mediated via serious self-criticism, as well as post-traumatic stress symptoms.

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