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What Is This Thing Called ACEs?

I talk all the time, yes relentlessly, about ACEs and trauma. I have a difficult time when I try to explain the science behind the ACEs study and the trauma that erupts from Adverse Childhood Experiences. The ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study was published in 1998 and it was a study of 17,000 individuals based on a 10 item questionnaire. The questions related to emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and family dysfunction. IN addition there were questions regarding current health status and social behaviors that could negatively impact health. The results of the study showed that people who had a number of ACEs were more likely to have higher rates of high-risk behaviors, social issues, disease, disability, and even early death. The study brought to light how very common ACEs are, and that the effects of ACEs effects no specific demographic. ACEs also disrupts brain development and leads to issues that involve social, emotional and cognitive impairment.

On going research and expanded ACE surveys, have taught us that
1. toxic stress caused by ACEs impact the developing brains of children.
2. There are short and long term health consequences of toxic stress.
3. Toxic stress is passed from one generation to another
4. BUT: we have learned about Resilience. The brain is plastic; and the body wants to heal.

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