How Trauma Affects Our Physical and Mental Health
The ACEs Adverse Childhood experiences study is groundbreaking information. It can be seen as the link in integrated care, that is at the forefront right now in health clinics.This study has been incredibly important as it links long-term health issues (manifested decades later) to early life experiences. The research demonstrates a strong correlation between childhood adversity and specific diseases experienced in the adult population. In this way, it confirms how mental and physical health are intricately woven.
The ACE study is 10 questions asking about early life experience from experiencing a loss of a parent to sexual abuse and everything in between. You can take it here.
To understand this more, if a person has an ACE of 4 (which would mean they had 4 traumatic events of different categories), then the following is the summary of the research:
2x as likely to smoke
12x as likely to attempt suicide
7x as likely to be alcoholic
10x more likely to have injected street drugs
240x as likely to have hepatitis
390x as likely to have COPD
240x as likely to have a sexually transmitted disease
These are considered the “health risk behaviors” that are part of poor health and early death. This study underlined that the negative behaviors were connected to managing pain and finding comfort. This comfort and pain is directly linked to trauma-disrupted physiology in the nervous system. This disruption in the physiology can be eased by working in a body-oriented way that is focused on shifting the patterns of the nervous system.