A Connection Between Child Abuse and Mental Health

March 15, 2018

Child abuse has been a problem in the world for decades. Before the issue was brought to light, it was believed that what happened in the home stayed in the home. Sadly, the aftermath of child abuse never stayed in the home because abuse can transform the human brain and lay out a platform for what could become a mental illness later in life. 


Our brains are designed to be our main operating system, it is our job to get us through day to day tasks and protect us from tragedy that is too much to process. In some cases, a brain of an abused child will put up a protective shield to protect the child, which in some cases has been the creation of a new personality. Multiple Personality Disorder can develop from traumatic experiences in order to cover fear and allow the child to disappear from the abusive situation.


One example of a connection between child abuse and Multiple Personalities Disorder is Truddi Chase. Truddi Chase has been a topic of mental health for many years as she has developed 92 different personalities as a result of being abused as a child. It is believed these personalities were created to shield the child from painful memories, since there were so many in her life and the abuse went on for so long, the personalities kept developing and her original personality rarely resurfaced (When Rabbit Howls, 1987).


Since children who are abused are likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, there has been a pattern shown that children that are abused under the age of 5 are at risk for developing bi-polar disorder. After a conducted study, the results were fascinating as it showed mostly children who had a connection of bi-polar disorder and abuse only experienced emotional abuse. 


Most commonly, there is a strong connection between children who are abused and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Unlike the connection of Bi-Polar disorder, children who are younger and abused are less likely to develop PTSD because they are unable to understand to trauma that is happening to them and since their memories have not fully developed, they may not even remember the abuse. 


Child abuse doesn't end when the abuse ends, for many children, it follows them their entire lives. Abuse runs in a cycle and the abused children will reflect their parents when it comes to disciplining their own children, which leads to a whole other generation of abused children and mental illness. 


CASTLE's Safe Families Program works with parents to break the cycle of abuse and create healthy families. The contributions will keep children safe for generations and contribute to a healthier life and mental state.