on physical child abuse are alarming. It is estimated hundreds
of thousands of children are physically abused each year by
a parent or close relative. Thousands die. For those who survive,
the emotional trauma remains long after the external bruises
have healed. Communities and the courts recognize that these
emotional "hidden bruises" can be treated. Early recognition
and treatment is important to minimize the long term effect
of physical abuse.
who have been abused may display:
- a poor
to trust or love others
disruptive, and sometimes illegal behavior
destructive or self abusive behavior, suicidal thoughts
or withdrawn behavior
of entering into new relationships or activities
problems or failure
of sadness or other symptoms of depression
and alcohol abuse
the severe emotional damage to abused children does not surface
until adolescence or later, when many abused children become
abusing parents. An adult who was abused as a child often
has trouble establishing intimate personal relationships.
These men and women may have trouble with physical closeness,
touching, intimacy, and trust as adults. They are also at
higher risk for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, medical
illness, and problems at school or work. Without proper treatment,
physically abused children can be damaged for life. Early
identification and treatment is important to minimize the
long-term consequences of abuse. Child and adolescent psychiatrists
provide comprehensive evaluation and care for children who
have been abused. The family can be helped to learn new ways
of support and communicating with one another. Through treatment,
the abused child begins to regain a sense of self-confidence
abuse is not the only kind of child abuse. Many children are
victims of neglect, or sexual abuse, or emotional abuse. In
all kinds of child abuse, the child and the family can benefit
from the comprehensive evaluation and care of a child and
to Child Sexual Abuse, and
#5 Updated 8/98
Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving
us permission to use this article.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists
who are physicians with at least five years of additional
training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child
and adolescent psychiatry.
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