ACEs High? New Ammunition for Advocacy and Appropriate Therapies…

According to a CDC Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study posted on the cdc.gov site in January 2013, individuals who endured maltreatment as a child are at astonishingly higher risk for mental, social, financial and physical health issues as an adult.
“The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study is one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.”
 
It seems to me the facts established in this study state the obvious.  It is astounding that it has taken civilization into the 21st century to finally validate the survivor of childhood abuse and recognize how steep the uphill climb to a viable, healthy, full, productive, serene and mature quality of life in adulthood truly is.
Results of this study could potentially erode the stigma and bias against young adult survivors living through the subsequent horror and shame of having endured a less than supportive childhood.  In current events, clearly more adolescent suicides are routinely cited.  This would indicate that chances of NOT surviving ACE is significantly higher today than they were generations before us.
Affected teens through their early twenties if fortunate wake up one day to find themselves in frighteningly dangerous situations.  They are alone, ill and malnourished, engaged in habitual self-destructive behaviors (cutting, eating disorders, criminal activity, substance abuse/addiction, promiscuity for example).  They act out of brain disorder symptoms or have landed in the center of circumstances which perpetrators target.  Added shame, isolation, risky life-choices leading to conflict and/or abuse are exacerbated by social stigma and bias on the job, in the medical and insurance fields, law enforcement and the judicial system; constraining affected individuals of any age from seeking acutely needed help.
For those with ACE who actually push through the discrimination to seek professional help, mental health and other health care professionals often are at a loss, waste time, overmedicate, treat symptoms while entirely missing and leaving core issues untreated.
That said, however, for few of us who do survive by experimention, embracing all different ways to overcome our past, reclaim the life we believe we were intended to have and strive to THRIVE ~ the evidence based data confirming strong correlations between ACE and manifold, persistent adult maladies, can now breathe freely.  (Go on, Peeps! Feel the victory, you’ve been validated!)
As a member of Families Against Narcotics-Downriver Chapter, a person in recovery and a mental health services provider in the Detroit-Wayne Community Mental Health Agency network, this report is an amazingly awesome piece of information.  Mental health and human services professional communities have at last an opportunity to amalgamate a recipient’s history into effective, less invasive treatments and therapies that WORK.
My hope is that this and continuted research will fortify policy-makers, administrators, developers and direct care service providers with the courage to scrutinize and change antiquated practices and deliver better care.  If they can yield to findings like this, reach into a clear, basic understanding of what human beings truly need to thrive and contribute to life, I believe common sense, side-effect free treatments will be sufficient and effective. Prevention will be widely considered first and for young children and families.  This is a great step forward toward mental health care that brings great results, not just big medical bills.
 
El Rukeyser Johnson
Michigan Certified Recovery Coach
Prevention Facilitator
Direct Hire Employee

 
“…the last of the human freedoms ~ to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”
~ Viktor E. Frankl
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