Mental Health Words

Childhood Trauma and Adult Mental Health Issues – It’s not That Simple

A recent study seems to say something similar to things I’ve said before – Is the Impact of Trauma on Mental Health Overestimated?

The authors concluded that there does indeed appear to be a direct link between child maltreatment and later psychiatric disorders, but that the magnitude of this link may be much less that we have been led to believe because most studies don’t do a good job of accounting for other potential causes of mental health disorders.

Which seems obvious is you consider what I pointed out a few years ago when writing about the ACE study:

  • That 14.2% of people reporting zero ACE scores still appear to be struggling with depression.

    • This is where we’ve started to go wrong. ACEs appear to be a risk factor for depression, but they are not the end-all be-all of depression and mental health treatments. Even this study shows that a significant percentage of the population may be dealing with depression that has nothing to do with adverse childhoods.

That’s the take-away from this more recent study. We cannot point to childhood trauma as the explanation for all mental health issues in adulthood. Sometimes, it is a contributing factor. Sometimes, it isn’t. Mental Health is much more complicated. There is no simple explanation for why it happens, and there’s no simple explanation for why it’s been getting worse. Beware those who want to paint all mental health issues with the same brush. Human beings are a bit more complicated than that.

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