Childhood traumas can broadly be attributed to the abuse and neglect faced by children, along with other negative experiences. Childhood trauma has been found to result in a high probability of poor health behavior, health problems and a high rate of mortality among their adult life. When a child faces childhood trauma and lacks a caring and stable relationship with an adult, it results in the child’s physiologic stress response system remaining active for prolonged periods of time, which is known as toxic stress. Due to the childhood traumas faced by children, there is a major impact in their lives and it also leads to continuing detrimental effects in their adulthood too.
A paper known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE) was published in 19981. The paper had established an association of childhood adversity and the impact it had on the health during adulthood. The paper was published based on information from a survey and lookup of medical records of over 17,000 patients if the Kaiser Permanente’s San Diego Health Clinic based in California. In this paper, childhood trauma was broadly classified into three categories:
a) Child Abuse ( Physical, Emotional & Sexual)
b) Child Neglect (Physical & Emotional)
c) Household Dysfunction (Domestic Violence, Mental illness, substance abuse, domestic fights)
In the survey carried out, 63% of the people admitted to having childhood traumas in at least one of the above mentioned categories. Also, 12% of the people admitted that they have had childhood trauma in over 4 of the above mentioned categories.
The study proved a direct association between childhood adversities and more health risks in their adulthood, such as smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and unsafe sexual practices. As a result of these behaviors the children are at a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions in their adulthood due to poor health. When children were compared who were not subject to any childhood traumas to those having faced 4 or more types of childhood adversities, they found that the children who had experienced childhood adversities were:
a) 12.2 times higher suicide attempts.
b) 7.4 times more likely to have alcohol related problems.
c) 4.7 times higher chances of using illicit drugs.
d) 4.6 times more likely to have experienced depression for two or more weeks within the past one year.
e) 3.2 times chances of having 50 or more sexual partners.
f) 2.3 times chances of being a current cigarette smoker.
Children who have faced childhood adversities tend to have poor health standards in their future and this leads to several diseases such as ischemic heart disease, cancer, skeletal fractures, liver disease and chronic lung disease. When the study was extended to a comparison of health conditions of children with no childhood traumas compared to children with a score of more than 4 childhood adversities, the latter group were:
a) 3.9 times more likely to be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis or emphysema.
b) 2.4 times more likely to have hepatitis or jaundice.
c) 2.2 times increased odds to have ischemic heart disease.
d) 1.9 times greater chance to have cancer.
e) 2.2 times more likely to rate their health as poor.
Because our treatment for depression relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods. The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders. In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies. Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery. Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful. Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.
1. The Relationship of Adult Health Status to Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction”, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1998, Volume 14, pages 245–258.