Childhood abuse and sympathetic nervous system dysregulation

Childhood abuse and sympathetic nervous system dysregulation

Is there an association between childhood abuse and sympathetic nervous system dysregulation in adult women?

When it comes to childhood abuse many people, both male and female, suffer with various social problems and depression throughout their adult lives. However, a new study in the USA has formed an association between childhood abuse and nervous system dysregulation in adult women.

In January this year, University of Toronto researchers produced a report in “Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology” suggesting that the recovery from adult depression is delayed significantly in adults who were abused as children.

Nervous system dysregulation is the lack of balance in the autonomic nervous system which manages energy output. With a dysregulated nervous system a person cannot calm or sooth themselves effectively, and this complaint can contribute to eating disorder symptoms, addictions, depression and anxiety.

It can also lead to physical symptoms such as migraines and other physical sensitivities, including physical scars on the brain which can cause physical pain, too, the report claims.

Other studies

In June 2013, Time published a piece detailing a brand-new study that showed how emotional and sexual abuse impacted adult women’s brains in specific ways. While 28 of the females suffered significant physical, sexual and psychological abuse, 23 of the women reported not experiencing any abuse while growing up.

The females who reported being abused when they were young had less cortical density than those who did not. Females who were sexually mistreated reported far higher sensory discomfort in their genitals.

It is generally accepted childhood trauma from abuse can manifest itself later in life, however not much is known about how much it can affect sufferers physically.

Related child abuse resources

Allvoices: New study reveals childhood abuse prolongs depression recovery

Springer: Bouncing back: remission from depression in a 12-year panel study of a representative Canadian community sample (Pay-wall)

Time: Sexual and Emotional Abuse Scar the Brain in Specific Ways