A recent study done in the United States indicates that children may suffer from depression if they have experienced domestic violence. The findings from this study indicate that children who experience domestic abuse appear to cope with it to some degree but later on begin to show significant damage as a result of the trauma.
Child abuse is known to have a variety of negative consequences on children both immediately and for years after the abuse has been suffered. However depression ranks as one of the most common outcomes of child abuse with other problems such as substance abuse, anxiety and behavioral problems ranking highly among the problems experienced as well. The range of symptoms varies greatly depending on the severity of the abuse and the child’s age, gender, coping abilities and the ability to get help from family members to recover from the problems.
Researchers in the United States say that these findings means that there is hope for early detection of depression symptoms for adolescence thanks to this study. The study was done using an MRI scanning technique to look at the white matter in the brains of teenagers who had experienced forms of child abuse during their younger years.
The research indicated that the white matter in the brain of nineteen teenagers that had experienced significant trauma either sexually or physically before the age of ten or had been a witness to a domestic violence incident that continued to occur for 6 months or longer was impacted.
These teenagers in the study were also checked to make sure that they were not abusing alcohol or drugs at the time of the study. These teenagers were followed for more than 6 months or up to 5 years in order to obtain the study results.
The outcome is that the teenagers who had experienced the violence were more likely to develop issues with addiction or depressive disorders. Some of the teenagers in the study did not develop the depression symptoms during the study but after and some become addicted to substances following the study.
The other findings included the fact that researchers believer that the MRI scans could help doctors to pinpoint the depression symptoms earlier and help the young patients on a road to recovery much sooner. In addition the detection would allow for an intervention to take place more quickly.
Researchers are still unsure however of the pathways that lead to the disruption of the white matter in the brain as this is not yet understood. However it is known from the study that those most affected did have significantly lower FA values. The FA value is the value that measure how efficient the white matter in the brain is. Some earlier studies had been done indicating the same effects on the white matter in the brain. However this study was the first to make the link between the decreased FA values in adolescent brains that have experienced abuse to the development of psychological problems later in life, such as depression.