What health problems can come as a result of child abuse?

Child abuse can result in many different health problems. In one study, 80 percent of 21-year-olds who reported childhood abuse met the criteria for at least one psychological disorder. In another study individuals reporting six or more adverse childhood experiences had an average life expectancy two decades shorter than those who reported none. Ischemic heart disease (IHD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), liver disease and other health-related quality of life issues are tied to child abuse. 

Mental health disorders, addictions, and related issues associated with child abuse include:

  • risk for intimate partner violence
  • alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • illicit drug abuse
  • smoking and drinking at an early age
  • depression
  • suicide attempts

Sexual and reproductive health issues and risk factors related to child abuse include:

  • multiple sexual partners
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • unintended pregnancies
  • early initiation of sexual activity
  • adolescent pregnancy and fetal death

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.