Tag Archives: Aces

What Are ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ (Aces)?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) is a term most commonly associated with the ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES STUDY.

These adverse childhood experiences have been split into three categories :

  • ABUSE
  • NEGLECT
  • FAMILY DYSFUNCTION

In the original ACE study, these three categories were further broken down into :

ABUSE : Emotional; physical and sexual

NEGLECT : Physical; emotional

FAMILY DYSFUNCTION : Witnessing domestic violence; person/s with depression / mental illness in the home; substance abuse in home ; loss of a parent (divorce / separation / death).

NB : Of course, the child may suffer trauma in many other ways, but the above categories were focused upon in the original ACE study.

THE EFFECTS OF ACEs ON THE BRAIN :

ACEs that take place during the critical and sensitive developmental period of the person’s childhood (especially during the first three years of life and during puberty and early adolescence), coupled with their effects upon the person’s genetic expression (how our genes express themselves depends upon how they interact with our experiences / environment – this is known as epigenetics) can adversely affect brain development on a number of levels (see below):

ACEs Can Adversely Affect Brain Development On A Number Of Levels :

  • ELECTRICAL
  • CHEMICAL
  • CELLULAR MASS

In turn, these adverse effects, taken together, can damage the brain upon both a STRUCTURAL and FUNCTIONAL level.

BRAIN CHANGES BECOME ‘HARDWIRED’ FOR SURVIVAL :

These brain changes then become hardwired in the brain’s biology as the behaviors that these brain changes are associated with are, on a fundamental level, ADAPTIVE AND ‘INTENDED’ TO HELP THE CHILD SURVIVE HIS/HER TRAUMATIC ENVIRONMENT. 

For example, certain brain changes caused by the child’s traumatic experiences may predispose the child to hypervigilance and explosive outbursts of rage and anger, both of which are adaptations which enhance survival chances in a dangerous, threatening and hostile environment. Indeed, children who grow up in traumatically threatening environments are at significantly increased risk of developing OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANCE DISORDER (ODD).

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACEs) AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PSYCHIATRIC, PHYSICAL AND ‘LIFE’ PROBLEMS :

The original ACE study found that, overall and on average, the greater the number of ACEs an individual had experienced during childhood, the more likely s/he was to suffer from the following problems later in life :

PSYCHIATRIC PROBLEMS :

PHYSICAL PROBLEMS :

‘LIFE’ PROBLEMS :

NB : The above list is NOT exhaustive.

RESOURCES :

Link :

To read more about the original ACE study, you may wish to visit this site

eBook :

Above eBook now available for instant download from Amazon. Click on above image or here for further information.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – An Infographic

what is childhood trauma?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

At the heart of research into the effects of childhood trauma is the study of how ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES (ACEs) impact on mental health. As would be expected, the more ACEs, and the more serious they are, the greater the damage is to the individual’s psychological well-being and the more likely that same individual will experience problems related to the trauma in adult life, such as depression, anxiety, poor anger management, poor emotional control and so on.

But what exactly counts as an ACE? The infographic below answers this question and lists the types of ACEs which are most commonly focused upon in the research into the effects of childhood trauma :

what is child abuse

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

 

For well over 100 articles on childhood trauma, its effects and therapies available you are very welcome to explore this site further. Instant access to all articles is completely free.

Best wishes, David Hosier BSc Hons; MSC; PGDE(FAHE).