Impact of Child Maltreatment

There is a well-recognized relationship between child maltreatment and a variety of negative emotional, developmental, and health consequences.  However, relatively new evidence also indicates that childhood trauma can actually alter the physiology of a child’s brain, which may lead to significant negative impacts on the child’s neurological development and mental health, and thus the child’s social, emotional/behavioral, cognitive, and physical/developmental domains.  These effects can diminish a child's relational competence and lead to the development of behavioral problems, which together can diminish the child’s capacity to maintain effective interpersonal relationships, progress academically and vocationally, and become a productive member of his or her community.  Furthermore, psychotropic medications may be inappropriately used to treat these effects.