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Childhood Trauma and Psychosis: Mechanisms, Symptom Profiles, Outcome, and Treatment

Ruud Van Winkel

Ruud Van Winkel-HD 1080p


00:06 Could you give an outline of the link between trauma and psychosis?

01:49 How can a better understanding of childhood trauma translate to clinical practice

03:09 What is your take-home message?


Childhood trauma is one of the most extensively studied environmental risk factors for psychosis. In this symposium, several features of the trauma-psychosis link will be discussed.

First, an overview of possible mediating psychological mechanisms, such as insecure attachment and dissociation, including targeted treatment options, will be presented.

Next, a study of the long-term (10 years) outcome in psychotic disorder patients, contrasting trauma-exposed and non-exposed patients, will be presented. Even though trauma exposure was associated with remission within 6 months, patients who had experienced abuse had a higher risk for self-harm, suicide attempts, and more severe symptoms.

Then, findings of specific symptom profiles, including psychosis, depression, anxiety, and mania, associated with trauma exposure, are discussed. These mixed symptom profiles, together with a poor functional outcome, suggest that stratifying patients according to childhood trauma history may increase prognostic accuracy and have clinical implications in terms of treatment options.

The last presenter will discuss a new clinical trial, involving trauma treatment (Prolonged Exposure [PE], and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing [EMDR]) in psychotic disorder patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Findings from this study indicate that standard PE and EMDR protocols appear to be effective, safe and feasible in patients with psychosis.

© 2016 Schizophrenia International Research Society/Nature Publishing Group

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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