How Childhood Trauma Can Make You Sick

If you don’t know how to say no, your body will say it for you through physical illnesses.

—Dr Gabor Maté

The long-term effects of ACES

The recent headline of the article posted in The Guardian stated: How childhood stress can knock 20 years off your life.” 

Anyone who has experienced childhood abuse and neglect might want to know how it can affect them later on in life. The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study2 is one of the largest examinations on child abuse and neglect. It was a study on 17,500 middle-class adults.

Life experiences in childhood that are lost in time and then further protected by shame and by secrecy and by social taboos against inquiry into certain realms into human experience… those life experiences, play out powerfully and proportionately a half-century later in terms of emotional state, in terms of biomedical disease and life expectancy.

Dr. Vincent Felitti, Kaiser Permanente

The study focused on the long-term effects of child abuse and neglect on a person’s health and well-being when they are adults. The long-term effects of childhood trauma are now starting to get some headway. Even Oprah is talking about how important it is.

A story of overcoming:

My Courage to Tell

Read the Prologue, Forward, Chapter 1, Chapter 2 in a Flipbook format.

Many infographics have been created to share information about what adverse childhood experiences are, how prevalent they are and their impact.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a great visual of ACEs:

The @7030Campaign have been tremendously supportive in my journey.

They have illustrated ACES quite beautifully.

Infographic from 7030 Campaign, in the UK

When we see the long-term effects of childhood trauma, we start to understand why we experience what we do. Some possible risk outcomes are:

Behaviour: Lack of physical exercise; smoking; drug use; alcoholism; and missed work.

Physical and Mental Health: Severe Obesity; Diabetes; Depression; Suicide Attempts; STDs; Heart Disease; Cancer; Stroke; COPD; and broken bones.

Also, from what I am reading, I would add a few more to the list: CPTSD, learning difficulties and anxiety. I have been diagnosed with CPTSD from ongoing threats in my childhood. No protection. This is why I wrote my book, My Courage to Tell. 

Below is a 7-minute video by Big Think. PLEASE WATCH IT!

So, why am I talking about all this?

At the end of the day, I believe that human nature is kind and loving. We are all born innocent. But “generational trauma” has taken that away.

Let’s start educating ourselves. Let’s start to change things.


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