High Price of Childhood Trauma

I awakened in the middle of the night with an old, familiar feeling–tight chest and coughing. I hadn’t experienced that in years. The evening had been wonderful. We’d attended a major-league baseball game and our home team had a resounding victory. Then, it hit me. I had been digging deeper into my mysterious past, and had been realizing ever-so-much-more acutely how traumatic things had been–chronically traumatic for years on end. Puzzle pieces keep falling together, and every day now seems to bring another revelation. Was there–IS there–a correlation between my kind of childhood trauma, my terrible childhood asthma, and all of the auto-immune weirdness that had hit me as an adult? Indeed there is. And indeed, I was well aware of how it had played out among the students in my classroom year after year.


We have the studies. We have the numbers on national cost. I have my memories and my own personal, observational evidence.

In an August 10, 2016 news release on the website AcesTooHigh.com (ACEs=Adverse Childhood Experiences), I discovered this:   

Researchers at Yale had recently shown that when inflammatory stress hormones flood a child’s body and brain, they alter the genes that oversee our stress reactivity, re-setting the stress response to “high” for life. This increases the risk of inflammation, which manifests later in cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases…

According to the CDC, the annual health care cost of adult patients who have a history of early trauma is $124 billion a year. Validating patients’ past trauma isn’t only beneficial for their well being, it translates into fewer tests, procedures, and health care dollars spent.

Statistics tell us that two-thirds of Americans reading these words, including physicians, will recognize that experiences in their childhood still trail after them today, like small ghosts. Fortunately, medical science now recognizes many proven interventions for recovering from trauma, even decades after events have occurred.

…research linking childhood stress to adult illness began in 1996 with the Kaiser Permanente-CDC Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study). Since then, over 1500 peer-reviewed studies have replicated these findings.

The good news is that when physicians inquire and can help address childhood trauma for victims, the validation of victims’ emotional experiences also helps their physical bodies to heal.

I was not crazy. I am not crazy. My mind and body remember, but I can heal. I AM healing. So can you.



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