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Not a joke: Psychiatry discovers persistent depression related to unhappy childhood


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This study of 23,000 people also found psychiatric drugs were not helpful in treatment of those with stressful or abusive childhoods. If we are very, very lucky, perhaps this means doctors will stop perpetuating the abuse by pounding on people's brains with drugs.


Study links persistent depression to childhood abuse

7:04pm EDT By Kate Kelland


LONDON (Reuters) - Doctors treating people for depression should delve into the childhoods of their patients before prescribing, because a history of mistreatment has a significant impact on their illness and ability to recover, scientists said Monday.


Researchers who conducted a combined analysis of 26 studies involving more than 23,000 people found that those who suffered maltreatment as children were twice as likely as those who had normal childhoods to develop persistent and recurrent depression -- one of the world's most common and costly mental illnesses.


Those who had stressful or abusive childhoods were also less likely to be helped with drug or psychological treatment, the analysis found, suggesting doctors and scientists should look for new kinds of treatments and ways of intervening earlier.


....[Andrea Danese of the Institute of Psychiatry(IoP) at King's College London, who led the study] said the study showed that prevention and early intervention measures to target childhood maltreatment could prove vital in helping prevent the major global health problem.


"Knowing that individuals with a history of maltreatment won't respond as well to treatment may also be valuable for clinicians in determining patients' prognosis," he added.


Depression is a major cause of mortality, disability, and economic burden worldwide and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease across all ages.


In Britain, experts say it affects at least one in 10 people at any one time and can lead to long-term sick leave, relationship breakdown or unemployment. According to a 2006 study, depression is responsible for 100 million lost working days a year in England and Wales alone at a cost of 9 billion pounds ($14.6 billion).


Danese, whose study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry Monday, told a briefing that previous research has found that people who were maltreated as children also have biological scars from those experiences.


Around one in 10 children worldwide is exposed to maltreatment including psychological, physical or sexual abuse or neglect and as a result abnormalities can show up in biological areas that are particularly sensitive to stress, such as the brain and the immune system, he said.


These biological changes could potentially explain why depressed people with a history of maltreatment are less likely to respond well to treatment and may give clues for research aimed at finding more effective treatments, the scientists said.



A study published earlier this month found that childhood hardship, including suffering abuse or losing a parent or having a parent with addiction problems, also raised the risk of a range of chronic physical illnesses in later life, such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma.



This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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After coming from a neglectful childhood myself I fully agree with this. Now, on top of those problems, I have the burden of AD damage to deal with too.

Off Lexapro since 3rd November 2011.

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Ditto - more abusive than neglectful...


1989 - 1992 Parnate* 

1992-1998 Paxil - pooped out*, oxazapam, inderal

1998 - 2005 Celexa - pooped out* klonopin, oxazapam, inderal

*don't remember doses

2005 -2007   Cymbalta 60 mg oxazapam, inderal, klonopin

Started taper in 2007:

CT klonopin, oxazapam, inderal (beta blocker) - 2007

Cymbalta 60mg to 30mg 2007 -2010

July 2010 - March 2018 on hiatus due to worsening w/d symptoms, which abated and finally disappeared. Then I stalled for about 5 years because I didn't want to deal with W/D.

March 2018 - May 2018 switch from 30mg Cymbalta to 20mg Celexa 

19 mg Celexa October 7, 2018

18 mg Celexa November 5, 2018

17 mg Celexa  December 2, 2019

16 mg Celexa January 6, 2018 

15 mg Celexa March 7, 2019

14 mg Celexa April 24, 2019

13 mg Celexa June 28, 2019

12.8 mg Celexa November 10, 2019

12.4 Celexa August 31, 2020

12.2 Celexa December 28, 2020

12 mg Celexa March 2021

11 mg  Celexa February 2023


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ALTO...HELP!! This began as a reply to Not a joke in Media but morphed to All About Barb and I don't know how to move it. I'm still on Droid. Really, I'm not this computer illiterate! :-o


So many thoughts, I better stick to bullet points.

1) DUH!! (eloquent, I know)

2) 'Abuse' has many forms. Bruises are only the tip of the iceberg.

3) abuse/stress that is NOT EVIDENT may be the most dangerous, IMHO. I postulate that it may not even be recognized or acknowledged as such by the person or others and, most insidious, may be seen as 'a good life'.

I grew up in a family that did not express emotion of any kind. Dad would get really angry once in a great while, usually at work problems. Never directed at family. Not wealthy, but comfortable. Never concerned about money. ZI never heard the words "I love you" from either parent until age 33 when mom wrote it in a card during wedding planning fighting. (WHY didn't I elope?! ) We have spoken it since then, although dad still has a tough time with it. The kicker is: to anyone outside the family, it appeared perfect and I frequently heard how 'cute' and 'wonderful' my parents are. My cousins often told me that my dad was 'more like a dad' than their real dads. My dad took them on vacations with us. He's a good man who has no idea how to handle emotion except to throw money at problems. He has 2 (deceased) half brothers who were schizophrenic. Several other siblings w no dx. Not certain how that factors in, but thought I'd throw in.

MY POINT: I've recently become aware of how deeply this illusion of a 'perfect' life has impacted me, the 'good girl' and peacekeeper of family.

Older sister was always in trouble as teen, got into drugs at young age and remains 100% dependent on daddy at 51yo. He gives her weekly 'allowance' of $100 in addition to buying her a house (actualy several over the years because the neighbors always became problematic after a few years. Hmm..) car, horse (she had to have after I bought mine). He pays for horse board. The allowance goes toward 90 Fioricet every week (I've seen receipts). They haven't had a peaceful vacation in 30 years. Sister always has a crisis or lands in jail. They visited me in S CA every year for about 15 years until trip became too strenuous about 5 years ago. I don't recall one time that they weren't dealing w sister back east. Ended vacation early a few times. They were in Atlantic City casino with friends and heard their names over PA system. She paged them because she needed money.

In 2009 when visiting home, sister called me from her house a few miles away. Extremely strung out, barely able to talk. Said she was afraid she'd OD'd. I managed to get her to ER who admitted her to psych for 5 days. She tried to attack me in the ER (I'm quicker) but did get guards posted by room. Later, when I took some personal items to her, she refused to see me but spoke to me on phone to tell me that she "would hunt me down and kill me if it's the last thing she ever does". All documented by the person assigned to stay at her bed while in medical ward, but nothing ever done. She was released and doing drugs later the same day courtesy of daddy money.


To be continued ...


3) Individual coping mechanisms are very different and, IMO, may help person to cope/get through a time of stress/abuse but MAY BE masking effects of trauma that resurface as depression, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia, dissociation, control issues, etc. (BARB HYPOTHESIS!)

EX: I have 2 close friends (unrelated) who lost their mothers as children. Both female friends have 1 brother who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia (the youngest child in both families). No family history of psychosis, schizophrenia. My friends: one was oldest child and took on role of mothering 7 siblings at age 14. She is extremely Type A+++, controlling, etc. I believe her coping mechanism became a way of staying in control of life. OTOH, Friend #2 is the most kick back, roll with the punches, happy go lucky, good energy person I have ever met. It seems that the early trauma desired her in such a way that not much bothers her since she survived through those years. I believe abuse was involved, then abandonment. She can be very introspective and analytical about her life, so I dont believe she has buried stuff that will rear its ugly head. She seems to have developed a resiliency that is evident thru her life. I think her resilient mindset even shows in her body and appearance. She looks at least 15 years younger than actual age and has an ease in her carriage. Hard to describe but so interesting to me. She is a magnet to people, but doesn't allow herself to be used or become burden

These very different reactions to stressors among people from same genepool fascinate me.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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No problem, Bar, your post is perfectly appropriate.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Great post barbara, I agree, that sometimes its when it goes unacknowledged that it causes more damage.

I believed I had a fine childhood until I started to piece together how abnormal all of it was.

Off Lexapro since 3rd November 2011.

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