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Childhood trauma and adult anger directly correlated

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In a previous study, researchers discovered that more than 40% of patients with both anxiety and depression had a tendency towards anger, compared to only about 5% of healthy controls. The current study used data from the ongoing Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety, which began in 2004 and involved questioning participants between the ages of 18 and 65 about their childhood experiences. By the end of the study, 2276 people had taken part.

Participants were asked about experiences such as parental loss, divorce, neglect, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and were later checked for psychiatric symptoms related to depression and anxiety, including their tendency towards anger. The researchers found that anxious or depressed individuals who experienced emotional neglect, physical or psychological abuse, were between 1.3 and 2 times more likely to have anger issues. Additionally, those who experienced more severe childhood trauma had a greater tendency towards adult anger.

The study highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between childhood trauma and adult anger in individuals with depression and anxiety, as this can have consequences for personal mental health and wellbeing and can reduce the chances of successful psychiatric treatment. The lead researcher, Nienke De Bles from Leiden University in the Netherlands, suggests that it should be standard practice to ask depression and anxiety sufferers about their anger and past trauma, even if they are not currently exhibiting anger, so that appropriate treatment can be provided.

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