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ACEs, adverse childhood experiences, are more common than one might hope them to be. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, 60 percent of the population reports living through an adverse childhood experience at least once before they come of age at 18 years old. A much smaller portion of the population, about eight percent, live through four or more ACEs.

Children go through adversity. Children are tough. A little adveristy shouldn’t have too much of an effect. Growing amounts of research suggest that the affects of adverse experiences in childhood has an effect not only on the children themselves and when they grow up to be adults, but on the children that they have in their adulthood. Pregnancy and birth complications are more common in mothers who have lived thorugh multiple ACEs.

What is an ACE?

An adverse childhood experience varies. Witnessing adverse behaviors from parents is a common experience. Parents fighting, separating, divorcing, abusive one another, having constant conflict- all of these issues are ACEs. Additionally, growing up with a parent who has a mental illness which can include substance use disorders, is also an ACE. If a parent goes to prison, a child is abandoned, neglected, or abused, all of these experiences count as ACEs. Essentially any life event or circumstance, particularly on the part of a parent, which is traumatizing to a child’s sense of stability, is considered an ACE. They are also extremely traumatic with long term effects. For the small part of the population who has lived through four or more adverse childhood experiences, they are more prone to developing health problems later in life.

The Toxic Stress of Childhood Trauma

The Conversation explains that children who are exposed to degrees of abuse and/or adversity in their lives “…experience heightened levels of stress without a strong support system to help them through these difficult experiences.” The article explains that this is referred to as “toxic stress.”

The toxic stress of childhood trauma fundamentally and structurally changes the way the brain and the body operate. Trauma can be called a disorder of the nervous system, as trauma impacts the way one responds to the world. Developing hypervigilance, a child is in a constant state of fear and apprehension as their sympathetic nervous system is activated. Stress is felt by the body on a molecular level, wearing down the integrity of cells, eventually wearing down the mind and the body as a whole. Toxic stress can get in the way of a child’s healthy development, their social life, their school life, and more.

If you are an adult child survivor of trauma, you do not have to suffer any longer. You deserve to heal. Everyone has a story when they come to The Guest House Ocala. Everyone can recover. Our residential treatment programs are offered with concierge customization, designed to meet your specific needs for growth and healing. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800