Sunday, April 08, 2007

Child Abuse Contributes to Schizophrenia

University of Manchester researcher Paul Hammersley and New Zealand clinical psychologist Dr. John Read presented the highly contentious theory that child abuse can cause schizophrenia at several conferences.
Hammersley and Read argue that two-thirds of people diagnosed as schizophrenic have suffered physical or sexual abuse and thus it is shown to be a major, if not the major, cause of the illness. With a proven connection between the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia, they say, many schizophrenic symptoms are actually caused by trauma.
Their evidence includes 40 studies, which revealed childhood or adulthood sexual or physical abuse in the history of the majority of psychiatric patients and a review of 13 studies of schizophrenics found abuse rates from a low of 51% to a high of 97%. Psychiatric patients who report abuse are much more likely to experience hallucinations – flashbacks which have become part of the schizophrenic experience and hallucinations or voices that bully them as their abuser did thus causing paranoia and a mistrust of people close to them.

Read the whole Science Daily article here.


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