A while back, I heard a bit on NPR about the ACE study, which can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site, here. ACE stands for Adverse Child Experiences, and it studies the long term physical impact of early childhood traumas. The findings link between childhood trauma and adult chronic diseases, particularly obesity, headaches, depression, and autoimmune disease.
A quick summary of the findings, pulled from this site include:
- childhood trauma was very common, even in employed white middle-class, college-educated people with great health insurance;
- there was a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, as well as depression, suicide, being violent and a victim of violence;
- more types of trauma increased the risk of health, social and emotional problems.
- people usually experience more than one type of trauma – rarely is it only sex abuse or only verbal abuse.
The test includes a short list of questions and score from one to ten. The higher the score, the more a person is at risk for developing chronic disease.
My score was 7, which puts me up there in the high risk category. As the sites point out, those who had positive support systems at the time of their adverse experiences fared better than those who didn’t. This isn’t good news for me, either. I’ve considered myself generally healthy, but in looking at this study and realizing the various ways my stuff manifests in the form of migraines and exhaustion, I realized that I needed to make some changes. Diet and exercise can only do so much when the root of the issue is that your brain needs to be re-wired. I’ve found that tackling my core thoughts and feelings head on is the best way to go, and this blog is one form of that.
You can take the test here, then learn more about the study and your score on the CDC link above.