Childhood trauma is often described as serious adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Children may go through a range of experiences that classify as psychological trauma, these might include neglect,abandonment,sexual abuse, and physical abuse, witnessing abuse of a sibling or parent, or having a mentally ill parent. These events have profound psychological, physiological, and sociological impacts and can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 1998 study on adverse childhood experiences determined that traumatic experiences during childhood are a root cause of many social, emotional, and cognitive impairments that lead to increased risk of unhealthy self-destructive behaviors, risk of violence or re-victimization, chronic health conditions, low life potential and premature mortality. As the number of adverse experiences increases, the risk of problems from childhood through adulthood also rises. Nearly 30 years of study following the initial study has confirmed this. Many states, health providers, and other groups now routinely screen parents and children for ACEs.
Main article: Stress in early childhood
Childhood trauma can increase the risk of mental disorders including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attachment issues, depression, and substance abuse. Sensitive and critical stages of child development can result in altered neurological functioning, adaptive to a malevolent environment but difficult for more benign environments.
In a study done by Stefania Tognin and Maria Calem comparing healthy comparisons (HC) and individuals at clinically high risk for developing psychosis (CHR), 65.6% CHR patients and 23.1% HC experienced some level of childhood trauma. The conclusion of the study shows that there is a correlation between the effects of childhood trauma and the being at high risk for psychosis.[14