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Mental illness and suicide linked to child abuse

  • 2 Comments

A study has revealed that child abuse can leave a person vulnerable to mental illness and be a trigger for suicide

The discovery was made after scientists examined the brains of 12 suicide victims who had been victims of abuse as children and found that they were unusually likely to have stunted activity in a genetically-controlled stress response mechanism.

The gene in question produced smaller amounts of its protein, increasing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity and leading to greater risk of suicide.

The same defect was not evident in the brains of people who had died from causes other than suicide and had not suffered childhood abuse. The same was true of suicide victims without a history of abuse.

Child protection expert Professor Dorothy Scott, from the University of South Australia, said the study highlighted the need ‘to prepare health professionals, especially GPs, midwives and child and family health nurses, to enhance parent-infant attachment and identify and address major risk factors associated with child abuse’.

She added: ‘Parents who have a history of childhood abuse and neglect need to be offered very sensitive and highly skilled support if the risk of an inter-generational pattern of child maltreatment is to be reduced.’

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • Sometimes I just despair. This is reported like it 's something new and unthought of.
    Anyone who has worked in mental health, or indeed anyone who has worked with sexual abuse survivors, could tell you this. Why does it take scientists cutting up brains to substantiate what clinicians have known and spoken about for generations?
    No doubt a hefty research budget was thrown at this and it will all look good on their CVs.

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  • Sometimes I just despair. This is reported like it 's something new and unthought of.
    Anyone who has worked in mental health, or indeed anyone who has worked with sexual abuse survivors, could tell you this. Why does it take scientists cutting up brains to substantiate what clinicians have known and spoken about for generations?
    No doubt a hefty research budget was thrown at this and it will all look good on their CVs.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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