The Long Lasting Negative Effects of Abuse

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Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

The American Academy of Neurology published yet one more finding that demonstrates the negative effects of child abuse long after a woman has reached adulthood. Migraine headaches are a fairly common phenomenon. However, those women who suffer depression along with migraine headaches are likely to have been abused when they were children according to research conducted by the Academy.

This study lends further proof to the fact that mind and body are not separate and that health problems later in life can be caused by events during childhood that had the effect of altering neurobiological systems. In other words, abuse during childhood has terrible health consequences later in life.


If the abuse suffered by these women continued beyond age 12, the women with the migraines were five times more likely to report depression.

There is also evidence that sexual abuse is even more devastating than physical abuse resulting in even greater physical and psychological problems later in life.

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These findings hold solid when compared to women who experience migraine headaches but do not have depression. Women who do not experience depression but suffer from migraine headaches are most likely to have not been abused, either sexually or physically.

Leonard Shengold, MD, wrote a powerful book about child abuse that was called Soul Murder. His book is brilliant and brought into sharp focus just how harmful abuse is for children. The title of the book is extremely compelling and he explains the title in the text. The harm caused by child abuse and neglect, of all types, causes not only physical and mental harm but destroys a person’s spirit.

There is treatment available in the form of various types of psychotherapy, as well as medication, for the survivors of abuse. In addition, there are many support groups available in most communities nationwide.

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