ISSN: 1230-2813
Advances in Psychiatry and Neurology/Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii
Bieżący numer Archiwum Artykuły zaakceptowane O czasopiśmie Rada naukowa Bazy indeksacyjne Prenumerata Kontakt Zasady publikacji prac
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vol. 30
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Early life trauma – review of clinical and neurobiological studies

Paulina Rok-Bujko

Second Department of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroses, Personality Disorders and Eating Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland
Adv Psychiatry Neurol 2021; 30 (1): 37-44
Data publikacji online: 2021/06/10
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Psychological trauma is a significant risk factor for physical and mental health development distortion. This paper presents the results of longitudinal epidemiological surveys and naturalistic observations. It also reviews the results of the most important neurobiological findings in the field of impact of early life trauma on cognitive and emotional development, and the structure and functions of the brain.

Trauma is defined as subjective experiences that overwhelm a person’s ability to maintain psychophysical integrity. During the stage of neurodevelopment, various life adversities, such as emotional and sensory deprivation, abandonment and neglect by caregivers as well as physical or emotional violence and sexual abuse overwhelm the physiological and mental capacity of a child and impact their cognitive, emotional and social development, adversely influencing adulthood functioning. Symptoms of abused children can evolve and change with time, from moderate signs of distress to more complex symptoms and organized disorders. The most important longitudinal studies, such as the Lives Across Time Study, Minnesota Study, Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, The Great Smoky Mountains Study, and the English and Romanian Adoptee Study are discussed in the paper. The lifelong influences of early adversities on brain structures like the corpus callosum, hippocampus, the amygdaloid nuclei, ventral striatum and cerebral cortex has been described. The variability of the sensitivity of specific brain regions, based on different rates of maturation, has also been discussed.

This review integrates and summarizes the basic knowledge about the impact and neurobiological consequences of early traumatic adversities.

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