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The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study -- the largest public health study you never heard of

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study -- the largest public health study you never heard of

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Thank you for this study and what it means for abuse survivors. It not only may help us healthwise, but gives us much needed validation. This is the best results I have ever seen regarding child abuse survivors. I remember the moment I chose to gain weight and stop taking care of myself to stop getting attention. Now I come around some 57 years later, and want to lose weight and cannot. My abusers took my life. They didn't kill me. But they did take my life. My first memory is of dissociation. To this day, I cannot plan for the future. I am not able to dream about the future. I am not able to even make goals. I cannot do math if Mexican food depended on it. I am trying to retire early before they let me go. I've worked for the state for 29 years. I never thought I would leave like this. See? They took my life. Thank you so much for your study. The results of your study, in reference to myself, have been known to me, in my head. There was never anyone to talk about it with. If this is how I feel, how many more are there? I don't think it will help me, my future, but there is no doubt it will help countless others if you can get them to disclose. It's a shame really, that by the time a child can get help, it's already too late to stop the abuse.

Picture of <span class="username">Guest (not verified)</span>

Even tho I am not overweight, I have 5+ Aces. I have been in therapy for over 10 yrs, hard drug user for 30+, and can relate to the other commentor. I can not even plan my day sometimes.
If I may state, all the therapy I have had has helped me understand, but to change the behavior, and I am not talking of taking drugs or partying, to change my attitude and behavior toward living a better life is threatening. I call it my self destruction part. This is the hardest part for me to engage and win over. And I don't even realize I am doing it until after its done. Like not wanting an ultrasound, so I keep canceling the appt. Make another, then the day before cancel it.This makes the dr mad and he gives up. But I don't know why I keep doing it. Most of the time I have no problem speaking up, but its like subconcious. I like the dr, know I need to have it done, but its like sabotage against myself. I know I am the one losing in the end.
This article is right on the button as far as what I have learned all those years in therapy. The hardest part is getting the money. And I just don't see that happening in todays times, at least in the US. And until we do, it will only get worse, and there will be more throw away children. How sad. I couldn't bear to know as a kid what my future was going to be like. Im so glad I am 60 yrs old.

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Cara, i recently read the first have of another study that relates childhood trauma/abuse to inflammation and auto immune diseases. Very interesting.

Picture of <span class="username">Guest (not verified)</span>

Kudos to Jane Stevens for a well-reported piece.

I must take strong issue, however, with the researchers focus and their conclusions.

I see not one mention of heritable psychiatric conditions, including neurocognitive disorders such as the highly heritable ADHD.

Yet all of these adverse outcomes outlined here are also associated with untreated ADHD. Moreover, children with untreated ADHD are more likely to be sexually molested as well as being sexually promiscuous at a younger-than-average age. Some will misread social cues to such a degree -- or be distracted or risk-taking -- that they will not realize they've found themselves in a compromised situation until it happens. Later, no one will help them to see how ADHD symptoms conspired to put them in harm's way (perhaps in the way of family member with impulse-control problems as well as paraphilias, which has been associated by Dr. Martin Kafka at Harvard with ADHD). Instead, some well-meaning therapist or pop-psychology at large will provide the explanation that their adult problems were caused by childhood sexual trauma.

What I find particularly worrying about these researchers' conclusions is that there is already a bias in the mental health profession toward blaming all adverse outcomes in adult life on childhood events. There is already a surplus of therapists who want to stamp "trauma-induced" over every maladaptive adult behavior. Moreover, there is an even greater bias against understanding the neurogenetic roots of ADHD -- that it's not strictly "behavioral" and behavioral interventions can go only so far. Especially once the child becomes an adult and has to regulate his/her own life.

No, I find this research and promotion of its findings very problematic. It is bad enough that physicians treating obesity, substance-use counselors, sex therapists, and all the rest do not understand the core role ADHD can play in the issues they allegedly treat. But to turn back the clock to the 1950s and make it all about childhood experiences without even considering the entrenched, generational neurocognitive conditions.....oh dear.

Those who are truly interested in preventing child abuse need to focus themselves on providing treatment for the tens of millions of American adults who suffer from psychiatric conditions, including ADHD, that can destroy their ability to parent effectively and consistently.

Gina Pera

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