Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for this interesting discussion on the long term health effects of childhood abuse. As we mentioned in the previous article, the results of a recent 30 year study have been able to conclusively link childhood abuse with much higher rates of endometriosis. However, as it turns out, endometriosis isn’t the only adult health concern that people may have to deal with if their childhoods were traumatic.
There are many health concerns linked to childhood abuse.
Heightened stress levels cause all kinds of physical changes to occur in the body and brain. Some of those physical changes, and their impact on a person’s health, have been documented already. Research has already linked increased instances of chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome to childhood traumas. However the research connecting endometriosis to child abuse is entirely new.
How does childhood abuse cause physical illness?
So how does it happen? In a word – neuroplasticity. During childhood, the central nervous system is developing quickly, and part of that development is conditioning, which teaches the brain and body to respond to various stimuli and stressors. When encountered during childhood, these traumatic stressors precondition the body’s neurological system and stress response system, to produce exaggerated responses to normal stimuli. New pathways are formed between the cells of the brain, reinforcing certain responses to specific stimuli.
What counts as a “childhood trauma” or “stressor”?
There are actually many situations and circumstances that could cause heightened stress and trauma in children. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the most common traumatic stressors affecting children include: accidents, physical trauma, abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic and community violence. Other stressors that can impact children in major ways include the death of a family member, divorce, drug or alcohol abuse, and natural disasters.
Child abuse has long lasting effects for the victims
Researchers and health professionals still have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to connecting certain chronic conditions with childhood abuse and trauma. For example, it’s currently known that conditions associated with chronic pain and fatigue, like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, can be linked to heightened levels of stress during childhood. But are there specific issues that cause them? For now, no one knows. However, almost two decades of research shows that children exposed to traumatic events, or long-standing stressors, are 2.7 times more likely to experience functionally debilitating conditions for which no distinct cause can be determined.
The issue of child abuse is a very complex subject.
While some cases of child abuse are clear cut, other situations are harder to determine because of cultural norms, disciplinary methods, and parenting styles. What one person may think of as abusive, another person may think of as perfectly normal. At The Kronzek Firm, we understand that parenting methods differ from person to person, and that it’s your right to decide how best to parent your children. If you or a loved one have been accused of child abuse, call 866 766 5245 and talk to a skilled child abuse defense attorney today!