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Published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, the study was conducted by Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence for Youth Mental Health in addition to University of Melbourne as well as Port Phillip Prison and University Hospital of Gran Canaria Negrin, spain. Researchers did a meta-analysis, reviewing the data collected from 29 separate studies on childhood trauma. Across all of the studies analyzed, one characteristic was common enough to catch the eyes of researchers. All types of childhood trauma documented in the studies had an association with hallucinations documented in psychotic disorders. Researchers were lead to believe that childhood trauma is closely related to psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.  In particular, one of the lead researchers notes, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse link to psychotic hallucinations. Another interesting note found by researchers: childhood sexual abuse has an association with delusions.

Psychotic disorders like schizophrenia commonly include symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. Individuals who have developed schizophrenia might also experience disorganized thinking, a loss of connection to reality, and a disconnect from regulated emotions. Treatment providers have long sought a source for the development of these disorders and have postulated for sometime that childhood trauma could be an answer.

These findings propose a greater possibility for treatment, especially for youth. Rather than approaching trauma comprehensively, treatment providers can focus on specific symptoms of trauma presenting in psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

Why does childhood trauma contribute to schizophrenia?

The research study did not conclude causation. Meaning, childhood trauma is not a defined cause of hallucinations or delusions in psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. Causation is necessary for researchers to definitively say that one thing causes another. There can be a number of theories as to why one thing, like childhood trauma, might cause another thing, like symptoms of schizophrenia. A common symptom of trauma and PTSD is having flashbacks or hallucinations, for example. Unresolved trauma in the brain of child could most certainly result in the hallucinations or delusions common to schizophrenia. Children are not yet mentally equipped to handle and process trauma. The brain is still structurally and psychologically developing until the mid-twenties. Experiencing trauma at a young age severely impacts a child’s brain developmentally. Attempting to cope with the paradigm-crushing reality of trauma is too complex for a child’s brain. Manifesting hallucinations and delusions are one of the ways the young brain might try to process and make sense of life circumstances for which it has no knowledge of for processing.

Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues: 1-855-483-7800