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Mental Problem During Childhood Lead to Physical Problems in Adulthood

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According to a new study, children who experience some sort of abuse or hardships and develop mental health disorders tend to be at a higher risk for chronic physical problems as adults.

In order to come to their conclusions, researchers analyzed data from 10 countries in the World Health Organization Mental Health Surveys Initiative. The following hardships were noted throughout: abuse, neglect, loss of a parent through death or other causes, divorce, parental substance abuse, parental criminal behavior, family violence and being poor.

Anxiety and depression during childhood were linked with three chronic pain conditions in adulthood: osteoarthritis, chronic spinal pain (back or neck), and frequent or severe headache.

As per the study, the higher the number of childhood hardships, the higher the risk of physical health problems in adulthood.

"These results are consistent with the hypothesis that childhood adversities and early-onset mental disorders have independent, broad-spectrum effects that increase the risk of diverse chronic physical conditions in later life," concluded Kate M. Scott, of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and colleagues.

The study is published in the August issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

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