Emotional Abuse As Damaging As Physical Abuse To A Child

patti patterson child abuse

"Sticks and stones will break my bones, But words will never hurt me."

 

Dr. Patti Patterson says this about that adage, "That’s absolutely not true. When it comes to children, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse."

 

Dr. Patterson is a Texas Tech physician who is board certified in Child Abuse Pediatrics. She says emotional abuse can bring long-term consequences like depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse, among other problems.

 

So, even though child abuse is more easily recognized with burns and bruises, Dr. Patterson says hurtful words or the threat of bodily harm can trigger physical problems. "increased cortisone levels, glucose levels, your adrenaline – your fight or flight," she says, "if a child is always threatened, those actually go up and can lead to long-term consequences like high blood pressure or increased risk of diabetes."

 

So what about yelling at children? Would that be considered abusive? Dr. Patterson says some families are just loud and that’s how they communicate. The difference, she explains, is the intent or anger behind those words.

 

Click on the interview with Dr. Patterson and you might be surprised to hear more of the hurtful ways that children are often abused.

 

Those can include everything from neglect to sarcasm. She says children may not understand adult humor. So, repeated teasing, which may appear as playful to some, could be devastating to a child's self-esteem.

 

Watch the interview.

Related Stories

Remembering Dr. Tom McGovern

TTUHSC Celebration of Life Service was held March 25th in remembrance of Tom McGovern, Ed.D.

TTUHSC Ranks Fourth Nationally Among Graduate Institutions as a Military Friendly® School

TTUHSC has been named as a Military Friendly® School for 2022-2023. Among graduate schools, TTUHSC ranked fourth in the nation, achieving Gold award status.

TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy Students Celebrate Residency Assignments on Match Day

On March 16, fourth-year TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy students interested in completing a residency after they graduate in May, learned where they would spend the next stage of their training during the Pharmacy Residency Match Day.

Recent Stories

Education

Fifth Graders Become Doctors for a Day

Fifth graders from Bean Elementary School became doctors for a day. The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Student National Medical Association (SNMA) hosted the Doctors for a Day Minicamp on Sept. 23.

Research

New Study Explains Mechanisms of Salt Transport and Could Help Treat Cystic Fibrosis

Pablo Artigas, Ph.D., from TTHSC's School of Medicine’s Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, published a study with his team of collaborators in Nature Communications.

Campus Life

TTUHSC to Host Lubbock’s Fall Medication Cleanout™

The Texas Panhandle Poison Center (TPPC), managed by the Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy, will host Lubbock’s Fall Medication Cleanout™ event October 1.