Childhood adversity

What are childhood adversities?

Childhood adversities encompass a range of childhood experiences, including loss of a close relative, bullying, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. The nature, timing, severity, and duration of exposure are likely to influence mental health outcomes.

What is the evidence for childhood adversities in people with bipolar disorder?

Moderate quality evidence finds a small, increased risk of bipolar disorder after exposure to any childhood adversity. There were higher rates of childhood adversity in people with bipolar disorder than in people without bipolar disorder or than in people with major depression. No differences in rates of childhood adversity were found between people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Childhood adversity in people with bipolar disorder has been associated with more symptom episodes and severity, rapid mood cycling, psychosis, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use, suicides, and an earlier age of onset of bipolar disorder.

February 2021

Last updated at: 1:58 am, 2nd February 2021
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