Childhood trauma link offers treatment hope for people with schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia may now benefit from more effective, tailored treatments and greater self-empowerment, thanks to research establishing a link between childhood trauma and some of schizophrenia’s most common symptoms.

Researchers from Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence for Youth Mental Health; the University of Melbourne; Port Phillip Prison and University Hospital of Gran Canaria Dr Negrin, Spain, have shown that childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse are associated with severe hallucinations in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

The study’s strongest finding was that hallucinations in those with psychotic disorders were associated with all types of childhood trauma, said Dr Sarah Bendall, the study’s lead author and head of trauma research at Orygen. “This means there’s something about childhood trauma that leads some people to develop hallucinations,” Dr Bendall said.

Full story at Science Daily

Key biological markers for psychotic disorders identified

A team of researchers led by faculty at the University of Georgia has identified a number of biological markers that make it possible to classify mental disorders with greater precision. Their findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, may one day lead to improved diagnostics and treatments for those suffering from mental illness.

The advent of modern medical diagnostic tools has made it possible to identify the hallmarks of innumerable diseases with simple, reliable tests that portray the inner workings of the body in exquisite detail–allowing doctors to pinpoint the specific cause of a patient’s complaint and prescribe the proper course of treatment.

The same cannot be said, however, for the field of psychiatry. Despite advances in technology, there are no objective medical tests to diagnose mental disorders. Psychiatrists cannot find evidence of schizophrenia in a blood sample; they can’t see bipolar disorder in an X-ray.

Full story of biological markers for psychotic disorders at Science Daily