Physical Abuse Leads to Increased Depression Risk in Adults
> 1/2/2007 9:10:03 AM

Research published in the January edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry highlights new evidence linking child abuse and neglect to drastically higher risk of lifetime major depression. By observing a cross-section of children as they grew into adulthood, researchers determined that children who were physically abused were 59% more likely to face major depression as adults. Those who underwent multiple types of abuse had an even greater chance of facing depression. Neglected children were also at increased risk for current major depression. Researchers also found that the onset of depression was actually during childhood for many of the study's participants.

This is not the first study to link depression and child abuse, but it is a comprehensive and powerful reminder of just how strong a link it is. Reuters also noted that this is the first study to establish that the depression was a result of the abuse, which might not be important in terms of diagnosis, but could be very beneficial in determining the efficacy of treatment. This report also highlights the importance of screening children, especially those who have been the victims of abuse, for depression and other mental health related issues. Researchers pointed out that of those study participants that had major depression, those that had been victims of abuse had higher levels of comorbidity, meaning that the depression itself was not the only worry, but that their entire lives were extensively effected by the imprint of the abuse they suffered as children.

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