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Commentary: The Pervasive and Persistent Neurobiological and Clinical Aftermath of Child Abuse and Neglect

J Clin Psychiatry 2013;74(10):999-1001

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In the last 2 decades, there has been a veritable explosion of studies concerning the clinical and neurobiological consequences of early life trauma. Once an area relegated to esoteric debates on whether Freud’s patients’ accounts of early trauma were “real” or “fantasies,” largely appearing in the psychoanalytic literature and commentaries related to Freud’s vacillation on this subject, child abuse and neglect are now clearly established as major risk factors for mood, anxiety, and psychotic disorders, as well as several medical disorders. Indeed, with the exception of genetic (and perhaps epigenetic) mechanisms, child abuse and neglect, undoubtedly, are among the most significant contributors to vulnerability for the development of major psychiatric syndromes.