Childhood trauma can take various forms such as physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect. This particular factor is responsible for adverse health consequences in adults more than any other factor considered individually.
People who have been exposed to child abuse have a shorter life expectancy, because they have an increased rate of suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and certain forms of cancer. In terms of the impact on mortality, it is estimated that the reduction in life expectancy is 7 years on average. In a study by the Center for Disease Control of the United States (CDC) -which was the largest carried out in the general population- the index of people who suffered some type of abuse in childhood was between 8 and 25% of the general population (depending on the type of abuse).
However, these numbers are possibly an underestimate of the problem because people tend not to report this background and, in addition, there are things that are difficult to measure, such as negligence. Also, most of the time, the perpetrators of the abuse are family members. Another situation that currently occurs is an increase in bullying and cyberbullying (bullying through social networks). Many patients with depression also have comorbidities (i.e. coexistence of other illnesses) such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It should be noted that the brain and body of these people have a different physiology.
There is a long list of changes that have been reported, including an increase in the inflammatory state of the body. This increased inflammation is a mediator, a mechanism, for the increase of these other pathologies such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes. In turn, the body’s response to stress changes permanently because of that early childhood experience. That is, the body reacts to environmental stress in different ways in a person who had child abuse. The brain of these patients is fundamentally different in that response.