This site is intended for health professionals only

Childhood family fears increases chance of mental health problems

 

Frequent fear of a family member in childhood is linked to an increase in mental health drug use  according to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published today.

Published online in the Journal of Epidemology and Community Health a study of 24,284 participants showed that mental health related drug use was higher among those experienced emotionally traumatic events as a child.

Participants from Finland were asked about a number of potential traumas including parental death or divorce and were asked to describe their relationships with their family.

They were then asked about their history with psychotropic drugs, including drugs for psychosis, bipolar disorder, anxiety, antidepressants, sleeping pills, and sedatives. This was tracked over a period of 9 years, using data collected by the National Drug Prescription Register.

Approximately 25% of patients had used drugs to help cope with such conditions with antidepressants being the most common solution (17.6%).The drugs least likely to be used were those for bipolar disorder (2.4%) and psychosis (3.6%).

Under one in 10 (9%) had used tranquillizers or sleeping pills and sedatives.

Although an observational study, authors Karoliina Koskenvuo and Markku Koskenvuo said that it helps“highlight the effect of harmful environmental factors during childhood on mental health problems”.