The following is my synopsis of the Minnesota Medical Associations March 2006 article on Child Maltreatment by Dr. David McCollum. It’s meant for medical professionals, but I found it very well written and understandable; (the article)

Dr. McCollum clearly articulates the relationship between childhood abuse and a lifetime of physical and mental health issues.

He draws attention to how many adult health consequences result from childhood sexual and physical abuse, and neglect.

New technologies identify chemical and structural differences between abused and non-abused children.

We in the field of working with at risk children, watch as they struggle in school and with their peers, and with the all too common regimen of psychotropic medications that impact their personal development.

Dr. McCollum explains the research that proves the physiological explanations for abusive drug use, violent behavior, sexual aggression, mental health diagnosis, and why so many abused children do not grow up to become functioning members of their community.

His conclusions are my conclusions;

“For years, we have ignored the potential influence of childhood traumatic experiences on adult disease, preferring to look for genetic causes of disease and pure biochemical factors without considering experiential influences.

Given the new evidence that trauma in childhood alters the physiology of the brain, it is time for all physicians to be educated about the full health impact of violence and abuse and be trained to explore these issues as the true etiology of or an underlying (potentiating) factor that contributes to their patient’s maladies.”

I would add that there is a terrific human and financial burden placed on our communities as health care professionals, educators, law enforcement personnel, social service providers, try to deal with the continuous flood of maladjusted and dysfunctional behaviors that stem from childhood trauma (further reading in my book Invisible Children)

David McCollum is an emergency physician at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, chair of the AMA National Advisory Council on Violence and Abuse, and president-elect of the Academy on Violence and Abuse.