Childhood abuse and maltreatment can shrink important parts of the brain, a new study of adults suggests.
Reduced brain volume in parts of the hippocampus could help to explain why childhood problems often lead to later psychiatric disorders, such as depression, drug addiction and other mental health problems, the researchers say. This link could help researchers find better ways to treat survivors of childhood abuse.
"These results may provide one explanation for why childhood abuse has been identified with an increased risk for drug abuse or psychosis," study researcher Martin Teicher, of Harvard University, told LiveScience. "Now that one can look at these sub-regions [in the brain], we can get a better idea of what treatments are helping."