Updated: Mar 2, 2020
The Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) Study, landmark study of childhood trauma experiences in 17,337 participants has irrefutably shown the long term negative physical, emotional and behavioral effects of child abuse across the lifespan. The study made a direct connection between the ACE Score (a tally of adverse childhood experience) and risk for health problems. The results validated a list of 10 questions to identify Adverse Childhood Experiences during the first 18 years of life and the associated risks as explained in this post, "Were You Really Abused as a Child?"That post ended with an important takeaway:
You are not your ACE score!
Your score only validates your experience and indicates how your nervous and immune systems have likely been impacted by the trauma. This "dysregulation" or disturbances created in the nervous and immune systems causes inflammation which is at the root of most disease. As your ACE score increases, so is your 'risk' of disease as well as social and emotional problems. Many with high ACE scores deal with depression, anxiety, heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancers, chronic pain syndromes and a whole host of autoimmune diseases.
An ACE score of 4 or more increases:
chronic lung disease by 390 percent
hepatitis by 240 percent
depression by 460 percent
suicide by 1,220 percent.
It's no wonder that the chronic illnesses directly correlating to high ACE scores is being called "The Silent Epidemic."
Those with scores over 6 are 'at risk' of dying 20 years earlier than they would have otherwise.
The good news is that it's empowering to know that the risk exists in order to take action.
A high ACE score is similar to how high blood pressure and cholesterol numbers (other silent killers) show your 'risk' for heart disease. It's empowering to know your number to guide whether you need to take action. Even if you score a 10 out of 10, your score does NOT mean that you are doomed!. Your ACE Score is just a 'heads-up estimate of your risk' based on the level of toxic stress you needed to manage during childhood.
Just like your blood pressure and cholesterol number show your 'risk' for heart disease. Your ACE Score is just a 'heads-up estimate of your risk' based on the level of toxic stress you needed to manage during childhood.
So if your score is 4 or higher, it's important to learn more about what you can do heal, to reduce inflammation in your body and re-wire your brain. You DO NOT need to 'go back there' to heal your nervous system. In fact, talk therapy isn't ideal at least until learning how to regulate strong emotion to manage triggers, first.
You DO NOT need to 'go back there' to heal your nervous system. In fact, talk therapy isn't ideal at least until learning how to regulate strong emotion to manage triggers, first.
What IS recommended is that you commit to healing like your life depends on it, because in terms of the quality of your days and the quantity of years ahead it may. That's exactly why I started this blog - to educate, inspire and share proven methods for healing. As one who has has healed from a very high ACE score, I can attest that not only can you heal, you can live a more happy, vibrant and longer life than you ever dared to imagine!
See the next post, "High Ace Score? Claim your red badge of courage here!"