A history of child abuse can result in an increase in suicide attempts, prevalence of substance abuse disorder, and a higher incidence of personality disorder in depressed patients, Mayo Clinic researchers have claimed.
Presenting their findings at the American Psychiatric Association 2009 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the researchers revealed that the victims also had an earlier onset of mental illness and an increase in psychiatric hospitalisations for psychiatric issues.
The impact of child abuse already is known to increase the risk of suicide, however the literature about other characteristics of depressed victims of child abuse is scarce.
The Mayo researchers say that though their study does not confirm causality, the information stresses the importance of more aggressive approaches from the public health perspective to prevent child abuse.
"A history of child abuse makes most psychiatric illnesses worse," according to Dr. Magdalena Romanowicz, lead author of the study.
"We found that it significantly impacts the wide range of characteristics of depressed inpatients including increased risk of suicide attempt, substance abuse, as well as earlier onset of mental illness and more psychiatric hospitalizations. This new information serves as a reminder of the importance of child abuse prevention from a public health perspective," Dr. Romanowicz said.
The researcher has revealed that plans are under way to further examine the association between child abuse and metal illness in a larger study of patients.