Link Between Childhood Adversity and Psychosis Withstands Scrutiny


Researchers from Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands find, in a study of 226 monozygotic twins, that where there is a correlation between childhood adversity and psychosis, it is not due to a confounding genetic factor. The results appeared online September 1, 2012 in European Psychiatry.

Abstract → 

Alemany, S., Goldberg, X., et al; Childhood adversity and psychosis: Examining whether the association is due to genetic confounding using a monozygotic twin differences approach. European Psychiatry. Online September 1, 2012

Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” editor:
Bob Fancher pointed out that the headline and summary I had previously written for this piece was inaccurate, and offered the headline and summary above instead, for which I thank him.
All I can say is that it’s hard to boil things down to three sentences that also capture what I think makes it of interest to the MIA community. I appreciate help when I can get it. Thanks, Bob.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Can’t read the article, but this abstract seems to confirm the Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) data. The ACE Study is being used more and more in discussions ranging from alcoholism to obeseity to heart disease to problems of living (so-called mental illnesses). The ACE Studies conclusions aren’t rocket science. People who have multiple “traumatic” or “adverse childhood events” without mitigating “protective factors” are more likely to develop life challenges. Not because of chemical imbalances, not because of broken brains, but because, environmental factors play a huge role in our development as humans being.

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  2. Exactly, you don’t have to be a rocket science to figure all of this out! It’s just good old common sense. I find it interesting that these kinds of studies don’t appear in any American psychiatric journals. Could it be due to the fact that the drug companies have a strangle hold even on the journals and that they exercise a veto power as to what gets in and what doesn’t? Martin Harrow experienced difficulty getting his fifteen year study published, which doesn’t surprise me one bit.

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  3. sometimes i think that delusions are a sort of psychological infection its a way of think that the child can learn from a parent ..etc and somehow under stress or depression it looks very appealing (but not compulsive) to use this pattern (delusional thinking) and the consequences could be full blown psychosis

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  4. The bizarre thing about all this is that it is of such vital importance in the recovery of a suffering person, but it isn’t trumpeted by the mental health professionals. It would have helped me immensely if, when I started having symptoms, someone had refused to label me as insane, and instead had tried to help me understand the insanity that had hammered me.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

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    • Bingo! That’s exactly right Hugh. How many more people experienced such insanity but it went recognized, without attention or validation? What’s monsterous is that we consistently blame the survivor of this insanity! I’m sorry you were exposed to such a deeply flawed system and cadre of ignorant MH “professionals” You deserve and deserved far better!!!

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  5. Defined-described as paranoid by psychiatry, paranoid is not a brain chemical imbalance as a foreign invader or a disease to be attacked and killed by medicine. Thinking in a paranoid way is the result of past experiences in an effort to avoid similar adverse events in the present.

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