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Effects of Childhood Abuse on Cognitive Development and Function

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Over the years, there have been a lot of controversies and several different theories on how we function, learn, comprehend. Why some people have or where disabilities stem from, and speculation on if abuse in any of its forms causes issues with trust, love, instability mentally, physically, and emotionally.

There have been significant amounts of progress throughout the years, enabling us to study the brain and help those affected to have fulfilling, productive lives. To change our negative perspective of being a victim to become a survivor of childhood abuse, we must want to make the changes. A treatment plan with a support system should be a part of our lives at earlier stages or younger ages to make the most use of the treatment. If a treatment plan is used in teenagers or adults, the ability to reverse or minimize the damages or learn to use them as a defense mechanism to benefit our life diminishes.

Cognitive aspects relating to this research include:

Neurocognitive deficits with people having borderline personality disorders, any trauma in their life: someone’s verbal comprehension, working memory, processing speed, and visual attention deficits. Auditory, visual, and perception regions in the brain, with the pathways that convey and process aversive experiences (witnessing verbal and sexual abuse and domestic violence), are studied.

Consequences of childhood abuse include a low IQ, no positive academic achievements, an increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and increasing attention to the long-term consequences mentally of the abuse and neglect on cognitive functioning. The impacts of childhood abuse and neglect predict a significant relationship between components of executive functioning and nonverbal reasoning ability and having PTSD moderating the relationship.

Are the changes in the brain stress-induced damages or adaptive modifications? Abuse and maltreatment both alter brain development trajectories and the relationship between psychopathology and brain changes. Executive function assessments are a Trail Making Test—Part B and nonverbal reasoning assessments are a Matrix Reasoning test. PTSD (DSM-III-R lifetime diagnosis) assessed at age 29 years (Child maltreatment and executive functioning in middle adulthood a prospective examination.

A prospective cohort design with ordinary least squares regression performed. While controlling for age, sex, and race, and the possible confounds of IQ, depression, and excessive alcohol use is how the data was analyzed. A sample of 792 court-substantiated cases of childhood neglect, physical and sexual abuse, ages 0–11 years, and matched controls observation data retrieval is during their adult lives. Having a questionnaire detailing early life trauma, dimensional measures of personality, neurological-cognitive tests, psychopathology, and retrospect is completed for both the control and outpatient groups.

Can the long-term impact on crucial neuropsychological functioning be reduced or changed, when does the impact from abuse start to manifest and will it be permanent? Brain development trajectories adverse effects, can the abnormalities be changed or reverted to a healthy state? Mechanisms to aid in fostering resilience and healthy relationships, and is an abused child more likely to be abused or in abusive relationships as they get mature?

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The above methods allow participants to feel comfortable and be able to be as descriptive and thorough without feeling like they are statistics or lying. Participants responding in specific ways for eligibility to participate in the study causes bias. The risk factors, results, and minimal recall errors are longitudinal observations. The data is collected over time at regular intervals. The data provides baselines for future studies to aid in their hypothesis, see the changes, what caused them, any initial study results, or subsequent results to prove or disprove their hypothesis.

The relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder is cohesive. When childhood deprivation and abuse later on in life are combined, they have adverse effects on the volume of the amygdala in the brain. Functional and structural abnormalities are more a direct consequence of abuse, not a psychiatric illness, as initially thought (Nikulina, 2013).

Originally it was thought that abnormalities were a psychiatric illness. With studies and technological advancements, we now know they are results or consequences of abuse and having to adapt differently for deficits, abnormalities, and altered development trajectories. Child abuse is associated with reliable alterations in the functions and development of the brain and the cognitive processes (Study & Comment- Suboptimal parenting impacts brain shape …. https://www.icc.institute/study-comment-suboptimal-parenting-impacts-brain-shape-and-function/ ).

Research Design

The gap in research between all sources I have found so far is the extent of long-term consequences of abuse as a child on their physical, mental, and developmental functioning as adults. Can the long-term impact on crucial neuropsychological functioning be reduced or changed? When does the impact of abuse start to manifest, and will it be permanent?

Brain development trajectories impact, Can the abnormalities be changed or reverted to a healthy state? Mechanisms to aid in fostering resilience, and is a child of abuse, more likely to be abused, abuse others or be in abusive relationships as they mature as adults? The research question I have is: Will the long-term consequences of child abuse on neurocognitive deficits and academic problems be permanent, or can they be reversed or altered?

Questionnaires in conjunction with group and individual therapy sessions, are provided to all participants. Ages ranging from 10 to 40, gender, and race are not factors. No personal identifiers would be shared. Consent to participate by the child’s parent in writing at each stage. Have the results be a triple-blind to prevent bias, and all staff would have appropriate training.

Conclusion

Childhood neglect and abuse specifically have a significant long-term impact on important aspects of adult neuropsychological function. The possibility of effects of child abuse being reversed, minimized, and actions can be done to reprogram or retrain the cognitive disfunction to help a person be positive and productive in the community is a concept I would have liked to experienced earlier in life. Findings suggest the need for targeted efforts dedicated to interventions for neglected children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019).

The severity of any deficit is higher when the person has a borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and an early life trauma that was severe or a combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and an elevated physical trauma history during childhood. All sources tie in with the topic and show extensive and robust connections to psychiatric, medical and risks for acute and severe issues being significantly higher in individuals who experienced abuse as children. The development of their brain, sensory system, neurobiological function, and physical and cognitive functioning are all impacted negatively. Most of the negative impacts are long term permanent consequences. The long-term consequences and effects of abuse are preventable, and some can be reversed. Neglect on its own is less detrimental and harmful than abuse and neglect at the same time on a person. A need for developing a treatment regime for abused individuals with more effective methods/ strategies for preventing child abuse, which gives children the necessary tools to adapt and be able to develop healthy and rational functions and behaviors. (https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/122/3/667.full.pdf).

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Effects of Childhood Abuse on Cognitive Development and Function. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-childhood-abuse-on-cognitive-development-and-function/
“Effects of Childhood Abuse on Cognitive Development and Function.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-childhood-abuse-on-cognitive-development-and-function/
Effects of Childhood Abuse on Cognitive Development and Function. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-childhood-abuse-on-cognitive-development-and-function/> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2022].
Effects of Childhood Abuse on Cognitive Development and Function [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2022 Sept 24]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/effects-of-childhood-abuse-on-cognitive-development-and-function/
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