However there is some research showing that abuse may affect the immune
system which could make people more vulnerable to certain diseases. In this
study, as in any study of this type, there is the possibility of recall
bias. As well in this case the authors specifically singled out the
illnesses most often considered by some psychiatrists to have psychosomatic
J Affect Disord. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23337654#> 2013 Jan
18. pii: S0165-0327(12)00773-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.11.020. [Epub ahead
Role of childhood adversity in the development of medical
co-morbiditiesassociated with bipolar disorder.
Post RM, Altshuler LL, Leverich GS, Frye MA, Suppes T, McElroy SL, Keck PE
Jr, Nolen WA, Kupka RW, Grunze H, Rowe M.
Bipolar Collaborative Network, 5415 West Cedar Lane Suite 201B, Bethesda,
MD 20814, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
A role for childhood adversity in the development of numerous medical
conditions in adults has been described in the general population, but has
not been examined in patients with bipolar disorder who have multiple
medical comorbidities which contribute to their premature mortality.
More than 900 outpatients (average age 41) with bipolar disorder completed
questionnaires that included information about the occurrence of verbal,
physical, or sexual abuse in childhood and whether their parents had a mood
or substance abuse disorder, or a history of suicidality. These factors
were combined to form a total childhood adversity score, which was then
related to one or more of 30 medical conditions patients rated as present
The child adversity score was significantly related to the total number of
medical comorbidities a patient had (p<.001), as well as to 11 specific
medical conditions that could be modeled in a logistic regression (p<.03).
These included: asthma, arthritis, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome,
chronic menstrual irregularities, fibromyalgia, head injury (without loss
of consciousness), hypertension, hypotension, irritable bowel syndrome, and
The contribution of parental diagnosis to childhood adversity is highly
These data link childhood adversity to the later occurrence of multiple
medical conditions in adult outpatients with bipolar disorder.
Recognition of these relationships and early treatment intervention may
help avert a more severe course of not only bipolar disorder but also of
its prominent medical comorbidities and their combined adverse effects on
patients'health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.