Many of the clients with life altering medical conditions I’ve seen over the years have had childhood trauma. This article caught my attention.
Brain studies are clear that trauma memory is stored differently for easy access so that we remain vigilant and safe. These clients are often hyper-vigiliant and in a state of constant stress. The stress arousal becomes the norm and they habituate to it. Chronic states of stress lower immune responses, tax the adrenal systems among many other things and are clearly implicated in life altering medical conditions.
I won’t go into it all because this post is already too lengthy. But I urge you all to read the following information as I’m sure you, a loved one or someone you know has been affected by childhood trauma.
“When Dr. Vincent Felitti, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, began to delve into the reasons for the high dropout rate of patients who’d been successfully losing weight in Kaiser’s obesity program, he found to his surprise that a high proportion of those dropping out had histories of childhood abuse or neglect.
Dr. Robert Anda, who had been doing research with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the psychosocial origins of health-risk behaviors in patients at VA hospitals, heard Felitti speak about his findings, and in 1992 the two began to collaborate on the largest-scale study to date of the incidence and effects of childhood trauma, known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.
According to data collected from the over 17,000 Kaiser patients in this ongoing retrospective and prospective study, adverse childhood experiences, though well concealed, are unexpectedly common, have a profound negative effect on adult health and well-being a half century later, and are a prime determinant of adult health status in the United States.The ACE Study has major implications for the healthcare professions: that all patients should be routinely screened for adverse childhood experiences; that a childhood trauma history may be very relevant to both serious illness and vague somatic complaints; and that appropriate approaches to treatment must include dealing with childhood trauma.The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study:
Bridging the gap between childhood trauma and negative consequences later in life. The ACE Study is an ongoing collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente. Led by Co-principal Investigators Robert F. Anda, MD, MS, and Vincent J. Felitti, MD, the ACE Study is perhaps the largest scientific research study of its kind, analyzing the relationship between multiple categories of childhood trauma (ACEs), and health and behavioral outcomes later in life.”
The following categories all occurred in the participants’ first 18 years of life.
1. Recurrent physical abuse
2. Recurrent emotional abuse
3. Contact sexual abuse
4. An alcohol and/or drug abuser in the
5. An incarcerated household member
6. Someone who is chronically depressed,
mentally ill, institutionalized, or suicidal
7. Mother is treated violently
8. One or no parents
9. Emotional or physical neglect
ACE -Adverse Childhood Experiences Definitions
Often or very often a parent or other adult in the household swore at you, insulted you, or put you down and sometimes, often or very often acted in a way that made you think that you might be physically hurt.
An adult or person at least 5 years older ever touched or fondled you in a sexual way, or had you touch their body in a sexual way, or attempted oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you or actually had oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you.
Respondents were asked whether their family made them feel special, loved, and if their family was a source of strength, support, and protection. Emotional neglect was defined using scale scores that represent moderate to extreme exposure on the Emotional Neglect subscale of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) short form.
Respondents were asked whether there was enough to eat, if their parents drinking interfered with their care, if they ever wore dirty clothes, and if there was someone to take them to the doctor. Physical neglect was defined using scale scores that represent moderate to extreme exposure on the Physical Neglect subscale of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) short form constituted physical neglect.
Mother Treated Violently
Your mother or stepmother was sometimes, often, or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her and/or sometimes often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard, or ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or ever threatened or hurt by a knife or gun.
Household Substance Abuse
Lived with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or lived with anyone who used street drugs.
Household Mental Illness
A household member was depressed or mentally ill or a household member attempted suicide.
Parental Separation or Divorce
Parents were ever separated or divorced.
Incarcerated Household Member
A household member went to prison.
Take the ACE test at: