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You might not think too seriously about the things you went through as a child and you might think that you didn’t have any issues because ‘other people have had it worse’ but that doesn’t mean that your struggles are not valid. When it comes to overcoming the problems in your present life usually, diving into the past helps tremendously and there are quite a few reasons for this.

We have all experienced some kind of Adverse Childhood Experiences whether they were minor or extreme. For those who do not know adverse childhood experiences are something that can include everything from being severely teased as a child by those close to you to dealing with an alcoholic parent or emotional mistreatment in general. The lines that define this kind of thing are very thin and can be broken down in several different ways. ACE’s are something that even though we are not always able to see it, affect us into adulthood.

The ACE Study

The things lurking in your past can lead to difficulties as an adult. You might end up suffering physical or mental consequences and through a lot of work unraveling those issues can be done. The CDC-Kaiser Permanente ACE study was one of the largest investigations to cover ACEs and their link to life challenges later in life and through it, researchers were able to figure out so much.

The ACE study was broken down into two waves of data collection and conducted at Kaiser Permanente back in the 90s. They found that not only are ACEs common across all populations but almost two-thirds of those who participated in the study itself were able to note one major ACE right off the bat. Adverse Childhood Experiences have an impact on not only our neurodevelopment but also the way we function socially, emotionally, and so much more. Higher ACE scores are linked to things like heart disease, cancer, and even stroke. The associated risks are seemingly neverending.

Household dysfunctions and neglect, in general, are not something that can merely be forgotten or swept under the rug. Your likeliness to do drugs and even become violent towards those close to you can all be broken down through looking at your ACE score. While there are only seven categories, each one holds far more than you could imagine.

The results of this study were noted as follows:

More than half of respondents reported at least one, and one-fourth reported ≥2 categories of childhood exposures. We found a graded relationship between the number of categories of childhood exposure and each of the adult health risk behaviors and diseases that were studied (P < .001). Persons who had experienced four or more categories of childhood exposure, compared to those who had experienced none, had 4- to 12-fold increased health risks for alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide attempt; a 2- to 4-fold increase in smoking, poor self-rated health, ≥50 sexual intercourse partners, and sexually transmitted disease; and a 1.4- to 1.6-fold increase in physical inactivity and severe obesity. The number of categories of adverse childhood exposures showed a graded relationship to the presence of adult diseases including ischemic heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, and liver disease. The seven categories of adverse childhood experiences were strongly interrelated and persons with multiple categories of childhood exposure were likely to have multiple health risk factors later in life.

Defining Your ACEs

We are all different and the things that we go through affect us all in our own personal ways. What bothers one person might not affect you at all and what tears someone else apart might not be a second thought in your mind. Keep in mind that genetic factors also play a role in how ACEs affect us and that sometimes things cannot be controlled.

To Take the ACE test and see what your score would be and perhaps what that might mean for you click here. That being said, keep in mind the things noted above. Not everyone turns out as expected and that in itself is fine. Your future can be and still is yours to do with what you wish.

For more information on the ACE study and this kind of thing please take a peek at the video below. How was your childhood? Did you have a lot or just a few Adverse Childhood Experiences?