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Good article on the long term effects of Adverse Childhood Events

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ellen, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I seem to recall that Dr. Gabor Mate discovered that among his female addict patients on the streets of Vancouver, B.C. 100% of them had been sexually abused as children, often before their 6th birthdays. No exceptions. Their ACEs had neurologically prepared them for becoming addicts later in life he concluded. Something about atrophied neural receptors.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

  4. rabbit

    rabbit Peer Supporter

    So, yes, I see the self judgement in my comment already, but I think it is a legitimate question: having gone through therapy, which was not easy, I understand I was parented in a very dysfunctional way, not given proper nurturing, emotional needs not met, and suffered what the therapist termed a form of emotional abuse. Perhaps a different child with a different biological constitution would have experienced less impact than I - I see how this has affected my life and relationships and what I do that is not healthy and I am working to use my knowledge to make my adult life better. Yet my score is a 1. I know a few people very well who if they took that quiz would wind up with a 4 or 5 or maybe higher. Yet they have led far more functional lives than I (I use functional objectively) and do not have physical issues. Perhaps they have inner psychological pain that they cannot even bear to access that does impact their lives and how they relate to others, but are there just exceptions to the rule so to speak that someone could sustain terrible things and actually be just fine as an adult? The self judgement comes in when I think wow, in the grand scheme of things, my childhood wasn't that bad, yet I now I see I have had TMS issues all my life, culminating recently in terrible back and leg issues, by far the worst TMS episode thus far and severely impacting my life. As for timing, this actually occurred as I was digging everything up finally in therapy. But I'm puzzled by my observations of certain people who have suffered many of the things on that quiz....
    Ellen likes this.
  5. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I do notice that the ACE Test refers to ACEs that occurred before your 18th birthday. My score incidentally was a 6: tyrannical father who I was constantly afraid of and who occasionally slapped, choked or threatened mom, once with a knife. Needless to say, the US Army wouldn't take him in WWII because they classified him, family legend recalls, as a paranoid schizophrenic. However, I've heard that 75% of brain development outside the womb occurs in a child during his or her first 6 years. That when DNA is becoming RNA and protein inside your head and I've also heard that that's when any interruption in the normal infant-mother bonding process can result in subtle and not so subtle traumas that predispose that child as an adult for alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness and quite possibly auto-immune disorders like asthma and allergies. So it would seem that ACEs are most damaging during the time when the mother and child are in the process of bonding during the first 6 years of life. That's also when the child's brain is basically unconscious without a fully developed ego - an "I" that knows it's a separate form of consciousness. So, it would seem, that ACEs have the most profound effect at that time, not necessarily just before the 18th year of life. I do know in my own case that my allergies and asthma developed when I was about 6 and that was also the first time my mother tried to leave my dad and go back to Seattle where her former mother-in-law lived. Both my parents were heavy cigarette smokers so that was probably a physical trigger, but the emotional conflict had to create a perfect storm for creating allergies and asthma in my auto-immune system.

    You've just got to take into account though just how hard life was for people growing up during the Depression and WWII. The kinds of unresolved conflicts that the Greatest Generation endured did lead to 60 million dead during World War II. They obviously had a lot of pent up aggression to work out.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
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  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    You raise an important issue. The ACE score is based on the different types of adverse events a child was exposed to. It says nothing about the severity or duration of any of those events, the age at which it occurred, or any exacerbating or mitigating circumstances. Another important factor that it doesn't take into account is the personality and other characteristics of the child, including the critical factor of resilience. Some people are more resilient and better able to cope with adversity for a variety of reasons.

    My ACE score is 4, and while I have had TMS most of my life, I don't have the health issues that I am at high risk for due to this score.

    Humans are complicated and measures used in research studies are usually very simple so they will be easy to use with a large number of research subjects. We shouldn't read too much into the results.
    BruceMC likes this.
  7. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member

    I agree my score was a 3

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