Have you experienced pain, fatigue, infertility, anxiety, autoimmune conditions, early cancer, contracted type 1 diabetes… and a host of other issues? Have you experienced pain that no one could explain? All the scans are fine. It is not real, they say. You’re okay. “It’s all in your head.”
Well, it is in your head. And it’s in your body too. What I have a problem with is: saying “it’s in your head” makes it sound like you’re making this stuff up. But you’re not. You’re not making this up. It is in your body. And the cause is trauma that originated in the earliest years of your life. In fact, it goes far back into your genetic roots, to your mother’s womb, to your grandmother’s existence… into the recesses of your history.
Let’s delve into the facts:
In 1997, Dr Vince Felitti at Kaiser Permanente and Dr Robert Anda at the CDC conducted the largest study on childhood trauma and its impact on the health of adults through their lifetime. The results were astounding and the deep-rooted relationship, irrefutable.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study surveyed 17,337 adults and is the largest and most important public health study that indubitably proved that:
The way Felitti and Anda measured the impact of trauma was by listing out 10 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). The higher your ACE score, the more likely you are to contract a serious chronic illness. Below are the ACEs:
How does this impair health?
When you experience trauma, your body goes into fight/flight/freeze mode and signals the adrenal gland to release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to give your body the boost it needs to flee from danger. This is great if in fact there is danger to flee from. What ends up happening is that our experience of the trauma lasts much longer than the incidence itself. For example, if you were physically beaten as a child if you didn’t go to bed on time, as the sun sets, your body will alert you that bedtime is coming and bedtime is dangerous. There is no danger in the present but the memory of the trauma remains imprinted. Cortisol and adrenaline continue to be pumped into your brain, impairing its learning functionality, increasing your heart rate, impacting your insulin resistance, immune system and the very nature of your DNA. Your body is always in danger mode and an overload of the hormones can severely stress your physical health.
Compared to someone with an ACE of 0, people with an ACE score of 4+ had:
Compared with someone with an ACE of 0, a person with an ACE score of 7 or more had:
How does science factor into this?
So, what can we do?
When was the last time you went to a doctor and they asked you about your childhood trauma? Medicine is not trauma informed. The proof is out there and has been for 25 years, so why aren’t we educating parents about this the way we would about childproofing and Lamaze classes. The threats are real; the science in front of us. It’s time we stop denying the undeniable and wake up.