Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is an important public health problem in America affecting as many as one out of five children (MacMillan et al., 1997; Mc-Cauley et al., 1997). Childhood trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects about 8% of Americans at some time in their lives (Kessler, Sonnega, Bromet, Hughes, & Nelson, 1995), as well as depression (Franklin & Zimmerman, 2001; Prigerson, Maciejewski, &

Rosenheck, 2001), substance abuse (Bremner, Southwick, Darnell, & Charney, 1996d; Kessler et al., 1995), dissociation (Putnam, Guroff, Sil-berman, Barban, & Post, 1986), personality disorders (Battle et al., 2004; Yen et al., 2002), and health problems (Dube, Felitti, Dong, Giles, & Anda, 2003). For many abuse victims, PTSD can be a lifelong problem (Kendall-Tackett, 2005; Saigh & Bremner, 1999). This chapter reviews the relation between trauma and memory in children in the context of the neurobiology of trauma, brain development, and memory. The thesis of this chapter is that alterations in brain regions and neurochemical systems involved in memory and the stress response in patients with abuse-related PTSD lead to alterations in memory function.

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