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What Are the Long Term Effects Of Child Abuse?

Adults who were abused as a child might use alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Long-term effects of child abuse can include mental health issues.
Children who have been abused have a much greater chance of falling into a criminal lifestyle.
Children who are abused usually have self-esteem issues.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The long term effects of child abuse can make an impact on every aspect of a person’s life, and sometimes the individual is never able to totally recover. Children are often physically damaged in ways that have lingering effects, and they might have severe emotional difficulties that make it much more difficult for them to cope with everyday problems. Some children who are raised in an abusive environment also develop behavioral problems that follow them through school and often into adulthood. These behavioral problems sometimes even lead to criminal acts. The severity of the child abuse often determines the extent of these effects, and some children are able to fully recover, especially if they are taken out of the dangerous environment quickly.

One of the primary long term effects of child abuse is permanent emotional damage, leading to various mental disorders. Some people go through such horrifying experiences as children that they can never fully recover from them mentally. For example, studies have shown that children who have suffered abuse might develop severe problems with depression or anxiety disorders much more frequently than people who were not abused. Sometimes the mental health issues are subtle, and people might not even realize that they have a problem. For other people, though, they can be crippling.

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Some of the other long term effects of child abuse relate to actual physical damage. For example, young children might have their bones broken by angry parents, and if the injuries are too severe to heal properly, this might have long term consequences, such as a severe limp or something similar. Other children might experience terrible malnutrition and neglect that actually causes their brains to form improperly, leaving them with severe mental handicaps. Generally speaking, children are small and easily injured, and they are still growing, all of which can make them more vulnerable to certain kinds of injuries.

Some of the long term effects of child abuse can affect people outside the family. For example, child abuse often leads to behavior problems that start in childhood and continue all the way into adulthood. Children who have been abused have a much greater chance of falling into a criminal lifestyle at some point in their lives. Some of these effects can actually even outlast the abused child, because many abused children eventually grow up and start abusing their own children, and this cycle can continue for many generations.

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