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Trauma and psychosis: Theoretical and clinical implications

by Anthony Morrison, John Read, Douglas Turkington
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica ()


There are clearly complex and multiple relation- ships between trauma and psychosis (1). Psychosis can be a traumatic experience and have conse- quences for the individual that may be very similar to PTSD (2). It appears likely that, at least for some people, psychosis can be a reaction to traumatic experiences, given the prevalence of such experiences in people with psychosis, and the links in relation to form and content of psychotic experiences (3). For example, a consis- tent finding in research studies is that childhood sexual abuse seems to be specifically associated with the development of critical or commanding voices in adulthood (4). It is also important to note that in almost every country where surveys have been conducted, the public understands the causes of psychosis in terms of adverse psycho-social events and circumstances more so than biogenetic factors (5). They have continued to do so for decades, despite numerous campaigns designed to teach them that schizophrenia, for instance, is an illness like any other (6).

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