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Need for psychiatric care impacted by childhood abuse

A patient's need for psychiatric care may be greatly impacted by the prevalence of abuse during his or her childhood, a recent report has shown.

Patients with a history of child abuse were more likely to attempt suicide, suffer a personality disorder or indulge in substance abuse.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic presented their findings to the American Psychiatric Association 2009 Annual Meeting in San Francisco and announced their intention to further study the link between child abuse and mental illness.

Dr Magdalena Romanowicz, lead author of the study, explained the impact a history of child abuse can have on a patient with depression: "We found that it significantly impacts the wide range of characteristics of depressed inpatients including increased risk of suicide attempt, substance abuse, as well as earlier onset of mental illness and more psychiatric hospitalisations."

She added that the research highlights the need to tackle child abuse and eradicate it for the good of the public health service.

The NSPCC recently reported a three-fold rise in the number of suicidal children who contacted its helpline over the past five years.

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Need for psychiatric care impacted by childhood abuse
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