There have been many Australian and international studies quantifying the costs of developmental trauma, and the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, USA) concluded that child maltreatment was the most costly public health issue in the United States, calculating that the overall costs exceeded those of cancer or heart disease, and that eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds, and suicide, serious drug abuse, and domestic violence by three quarters. Most studies only looked at the more immediate costs, rather than all the whole of life mental and physical health consequences. Effective treatment would also have a significantly positive effect on workplace performance, and vastly decrease the need for incarceration. Around 17% have 4 or more types of trauma with very significant effects on mental and physical health, and if 6 or more, life expectancy is reduced by 20 years. Developmental Trauma is the most personally, family, and socially painful and financially costly disorder!
The NSW Government commissioned an actuarial model of future outcomes and costs of providing key government services to children and young people to underpin an investment approach, to assist with the identification of vulnerable groups who are likely to have poorer outcomes. It was found that 7% of the NSW population would use 50% of the state resources by the age of 40. When you look at the vulnerable groups, they all have suffered from developmental trauma.
A major lesson from recent research is that the traumatised brain sees the world differently, reacts differently and the lack of recognition of this, and controlling for it, severely confounds most diagnostic and treatment research, based on symptom clusters, the basis for DSM-5.
Trauma sensitive care is not enough, we need to actually re-regulate the brain. In around three quarters of those that achieve suicide, it is associated with developmental trauma, so trying to reduce suicide must include actually treating the trauma.
Now we have the technologies to assess brain function (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI, quantitative electro-encephalography qEEG) and to reverse dysregulation through training (operant conditioning) using a range of biofeedback methods, especially including EEG neurofeedback.
While there have been no studies we have found that directly addressed the savings to be made from trauma treatments, several studies indicate massive savings through improved functionality, with long term follow up assessments.