Got Your ACE Score?

What’s Your ACE Score? (and, at the end, What’s Your Resilience Score?)

There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. Five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Each type of trauma counts as one. So a person who’s been physically abused, with one alcoholic parent, and a mother who was beaten up has an ACE score of three.

There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

Prior to your 18th birthday:

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  6. Was a biological parent ever lost to you through divorce, abandonment, or other reason ?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  7. Was your mother or stepmother:
    Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?                        No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  10. Did a household member go to prison?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Now add up your “Yes” answers: _ This is your ACE Score

__________________________

Now that you’ve got your ACE score, what does it mean?

First….a tiny bit of background to help you figure this out…..(if you want the back story about the fascinating origins of the ACE Study, read The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the largest, most important public health study you never heard of — began in an obesity clinic.)

The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Studyuncovered a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems. This includes heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases, as well as depression, violence, being a victim of violence, and suicide.

The first research results were published in 1998, followed by 57 other publications through 2011. They showed that:

  • childhood trauma was very common, even in employed white middle-class, college-educated people with great health insurance;
  • there was a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, as well as depression, suicide, being violent and a victim of violence;
  • more types of trauma increased the risk of health, social and emotional problems.
  • people usually experience more than one type of trauma – rarely is it only sex abuse or only verbal abuse.

A whopping two thirds of the 17,000 people in the ACE Study had an ACE score of at least one – 87 percent of those had more than one. Eighteen states have done their own ACE surveys; their results are similar to the CDC’s ACE Study.

acescores

The study’s researchers came up with an ACE score to explain a person’s risk for chronic disease. Think of it as a cholesterol score for childhood toxic stress. You get one point for each type of trauma. The higher your ACE score, the higher your risk of health and social problems. (Of course, other types of trauma exist that could contribute to an ACE score, so it is conceivable that people could have ACE scores higher than 10; however, the ACE Study measured only 10 types.)

As your ACE score increases, so does the risk of disease, social and emotional problems. With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.

(By the way, lest you think that the ACE Study was yet another involving inner-city poor people of color, take note: The study’s participants were 17,000 mostly white, middle and upper-middle class college-educated San Diegans with good jobs and great health care – they all belonged to the Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization.)

Here are some specific graphic examples of how increasing ACE scores increase the risk of some diseases, social and emotional problems. All of these graphs come from “The relationship of adverse childhood experiences to adult health, well being, social function and health care”, a book chapter by Drs. Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda, co-founders of the ACE Study, in “The Hidden Epidemic: The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease.”

 

What causes this?

At the same time that the ACE Study was being done, parallel research on kids’ brains found that toxic stress physically damages a child’s developing brain. This was determined by a group of neuroscientists and pediatricians, including neuroscientist Martin Teicher and pediatrician Jack Shonkoff, both at Harvard University, neuroscientist Bruce McEwen at Rockefeller University, and pediatrician Bruce Perry at the Child Trauma Academy.

When children are overloaded with stress hormones, they’re in flight, fright or freeze mode. They can’t learn in school. They often have difficulty trusting adults or developing healthy relationships with peers (i.e., they become loners). To relieve their anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, and/or inability to focus, they turn to easily available biochemical solutions — nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine — or activities in which they can escape their problems — high-risk sports, proliferation of sex partners, and work/over-achievement. (e.g. Nicotine reduces anger, increases focus and relieves depression. Alcohol relieves stress.)

Using drugs or overeating or engaging in risky behavior leads to consequences as a direct result of this behavior. For example, smoking can lead to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or lung cancer. Overeating can lead to obesity and diabetes. In addition, there is increasing research that shows that severe and chronic stress leads to bodily systems producing an inflammatory response that leads to disease.
For more information about that aspect, check out the interactive graphic COLEVA — Consequences of lifetime exposure to violence and abuse. Here’s a screen-grab of the home page of that site to give you an idea of how extensive the research is.
Fortunately, brains and lives are somewhat plastic. The appropriate integration of resilience factors born out of ACE concepts — such as asking for help, developing trusting relationships, forming a positive attitude, listening to feelings — can help people improve their lives.
For more information about the ACE Study, check out the CDC’s ACE Study site.

Here’s a link to the long questionnaire (200+ questions).

_______________________

What’s Your Resilience Score?

This questionnaire was developed by the early childhood service providers, pediatricians, psychologists, and health advocates of Southern Kennebec Healthy Start, Augusta, Maine, in 2006, and updated in February 2013. Two psychologists in the group, Mark Rains and Kate McClinn, came up with the 14 statements with editing suggestions by the other members of the group. The scoring system was modeled after the ACE Study questions. The content of the questions was based on a number of research studies from the literature over the past 40 years including that of Emmy Werner and others. Its purpose is limited to parenting education. It was not developed for research.

RESILIENCE Questionnaire

Please circle the most accurate answer under each statement:

1.  I believe that my mother loved me when I was little.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

2.  I believe that my father loved me when I was little.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
3.  When I was little, other people helped my mother and father take care of me and they seemed to love me.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
4.   I’ve heard that when I was an infant someone in my family enjoyed playing with me, and I enjoyed it, too.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
5.  When I was a child, there were relatives in my family who made me feel better if I was sad or worried.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
6.   When I was a child, neighbors or my friends’ parents seemed to like me.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
7.  When I was a child, teachers, coaches, youth leaders or ministers were there to help me.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
8.  Someone in my family cared about how I was doing in school.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
9.  My family, neighbors and friends talked often about making our lives better.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
10.  We had rules in our house and were expected to keep them.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
11. When I felt really bad, I could almost always find someone I trusted to talk to.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
12.  As a youth, people noticed that I was capable and could get things done.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
13.  I was independent and a go-getter.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
14.  I believed that life is what you make it.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

 

How many of these 14 protective factors did I have as a child and youth? (How many of the 14 were circled “Definitely True” or “Probably True”?)   _______
Of these circled, how many are still true for me? _______

333 responses

  1. Pingback: Depression Test With Scoring In Tennis | Over Here Blogging

  2. Name: Karissa
    Aces Score 6
    Resiliency: 6
    Age: 29
    Gender: Female
    Education: Bachelor’s
    Smoker: No
    Drink: Rarely, although I did drink a bit excessively in college
    Depressed: No
    Suicidal tendencies: No
    Mental illness: PTSD, OCD, Social Anxiety Disorder
    Physical Illness: Brain cancer(grade 2 mixed glioma of the left temporal lobe. Had complete resection including the removal of my hippocampus and amygdala in 2010, no regrowth to date but have been told that it will happen at some point), Epilepsy due to tumor, Reactive inflammatory arthritis (Currently awaiting test results for HLA-B27 and Ankylosing Spondylitis), Raynaud’s disease

    I was sexually abused by my mother’s boyfriend from the ages of 2 to 16. I was living in constant fear of when he would come at me next. My fight or flight response was always in high gear. My mother caught him a few times but did nothing and this caused resentment/worry that I was not worthy of her protection. I was horribly insecure and a social recluse. I have a very small family and they do not get along. There was/is always some fight going on. I had no trust in them. I had 2 friends in middle school and no friends in high school. Being in social situations made me freeze up. I could not think of things to say and I was paranoid that everyone was starring at me thinking I was weird. I began having seizures when I was 15. My seizures felt similar to how I would feel when I was being sexually abused. I would be unable to communicate and I felt like I was in a nightmare. Intense fear pulsed through my body for a minute or so. I was unable to talk for about 5 minutes afterward. A brain tumor was found in my left temporal lobe that spread throughout my hippocampus and amygdala. This is the fear-response center of the brain. I have wondered if my body being in a constant fight or flight mode while growing up caused damage to my developing brain resulting in the tumor. I had a difficult surgery to remove the tumor in 2010. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks and lost 20 pounds. It was a frightening and painful experience. My menstrual cycle stopped for 7 months after the surgery which I take as further evidence of the hard hit my body took. Shortly after surgery, my right fingers began to swell and itch off and on. Each year, the swelling would spread to another finger and eventually to my right toes. I was sent to a rheumatologist who diagnosed it as reactive inflammatory arthritis. At my last appointment, I was tested for HLA-B27 and had an x-ray to see if it’s Ankylosing Spondylitis. My body also reacts poorly to cold temperatures due to Raynaud’s. I take good care of myself, I eat healthy and exercise. I’ve never smoked or done drugs. I did drink a lot in college but I’d say that’s not uncommon. Now I only drink once a month or so. It is very frustrating to feel ill all of the time. I feel like I have the body of a 90 year old rather than a 29 year old. I never have the energy to do much. I force myself to be active. And now I am rambling so that is all.

  3. ACE Score of 8 here. I am a woman, age 53 who has done lots (thankfully) to heal and manage stress, and I am still learning, healing. A few things come to mind here following reading this great study: 1. Thanks, first of all for some more ‘real evidence’ that I am not so alone. 2. One must not leave out family religious factors here. While of course, abuse is passed down from generation to generation until the psych/social patterning is interrupted. In my case, my parents were under the misguided impression that beating their kids was not only justified, but their job under whacky Church mandates. Add to that that alcoholism, unmanaged rage and a dose or two of undealt-with mental illness, and well….you can get the picture.

    • Also, wanted to add how much mindfulness meditation, and body-oriented psychotherapy have been live savers for decades.

  4. Pingback: The town of Dalles, OR, remakes itself as a trauma-sensitive sanctuary « ACEs Too High

  5. Pingback: Most Californians have experienced childhood trauma; early adversity a direct link to adult onset of chronic disease, depression, violence • SJS

  6. Pingback: Got Your ACE Score Yet? | CE Credits Online

  7. Pingback: Most Californians have experienced childhood trauma; early adversity a direct link to adult onset of chronic disease, depression, violence « ACEs Too High

  8. Pingback: Alberta Family Wellness Initiative changes minds by informing Canadians about effects of toxic stress on kids’ brains « ACEs Too High

  9. Aces Score: 3; 5 if you take out “a parent or other adult in the household.” Daily abuse elsewhere still counts, in my book.
    Resiliency: 8
    Age: 27
    Gender: F
    Education: In and out of college
    Smoker: No
    Drink: 1-3 times a week
    Drug use: Sporadically
    Depressed: My entire life until the last year
    Suicidal tendencies: Multiple attempts (shouldn’t be alive)
    Mental illness: DID, C-PTSD, depression, dysthymia, and a dozen misdiagnoses
    Physical Illness: Essential tremor, migraines, hormone problems, plus something we haven’t figured out yet
    Medication: 8, half of which are psychiatric

    Having a loving family doesn’t protect you from everything else in the world, especially when they turn a blind eye to it. I spent almost 5 months in a psychiatric hospital last year. If it weren’t for that, I don’t know that I’d make it. Finally getting appropriate help made a world of difference! I’m finally happy. :)

    • I am very very glad to hear that! You would be the age of a daughter if I had one (have a son) I had a horrible childhood and now teach psy. and child dev. When someone gets better we all are so happy because sometimes, like you, it is so hard to find and fix the issue

  10. Pingback: Maine Resilience Building Network changes how people think about childhood trauma « ACEs Too High

  11. Aces Score 5-6
    Resiliency: 3 (it may be 1 since I said yes to 1 & 2 based on current knowledge, but they would have be no if based on my childhood perception)
    Age: 50
    Gender: female
    Education: BA
    Smoker: Never
    Drink: Never
    Drugs: Never
    Depressed: yes (can only function when taking mood elevators and can only sleep with a sleep aid)
    Suicidal tendencies: I have been thinking about killing myself since I was 5 years old. I have learned how to cope with it and do not allow myself to indulge suicidal thoughts because they can quickly lead me to deep depressions etc.

    Sexual abuse by strangers 3 times that I remember (I have large holes in my memories of childhood) and experienced extreme street harassment starting at age 14. Parents severely neglected us and did not show that they loved us, although I know now that they did, but just did not know how to show it. Extensively bullied and teased in school. I am in therapy, have been on and off for 20 years, I just wonder sometimes is some wounds run too deep to ever heal.

  12. I don’t think “broken” is completely a bad thing. There is no doubt that it is hard and can make dealing with relationships more challenging, but also think that the experiences you survive can help develop a more sympathetic view of others and a kinder spirit in general.

  13. My name is Travis
    Aces Score 7
    Resiliency: 5
    Age: 40
    Gender: male
    Education: Associates
    Smoker: Yes
    Drink: Not anymore, after a DUI
    Depressed: yes
    Suicidal tendencies: attempted at 16, at the edge of trying several other times in my life, even recently
    Mental illness: PTSD
    Physical Illness: HLA-B27 Positive, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Polyarthritis, Scoliosis, Sciatica, 4 Herniated disc’s, 8 pinched nerves, Fibromyalgia, COPD, carpal tunnel syndrome both hands,

    My father was extremly physically abusive. He once drug my mother down a flight of concrete stairs, resulting in her leg being broke in 42 places. He held my head under the water at
    bath time once until I nearly passed out, then pulled me out and hung me with a rope over the door. Every day now is pain, physical pain, mental pain. I am exhausted. The only
    thing the dr have too offer me is these pills, and the pills only make me feel worse. I appreciate all the stories, it is sad to me though, knowing so many endured what I did, or worse.

  14. I forgot to note….I also survived shaken baby syndrome and subsequently have an issue with my spine at my brain stem where my c1 and c2 sit twisted and askew. This has a tendency to cause migraines. I was looking at the information on ADD vs PTSD and the Vargus nerve-hmmmm…..

    Also PMDD- total bummer!

    • I had a violent mother and father. I was the oldest of 6 children. She was heavily medicated, from cancer that spread in the next 15 yrs before I moved out. I also had two bad car accidents, and have spinal pain in the neck and back-bulging discs with annular tears. I tried the pain pills, but it was hard to work So I take a natural anti inflammatory supplement. It also lowers cortisol, and drops blood pressure. But PREGENOLONE (30 or 50mg) I take 2 times a day keep me faily calm, and I do not have the spinal pain.
      As for your family, they are poson, and you have to walk away. There is also a book called Released From Shame by Dr Wilson. She is a woman who breaks the shaming process down to family friends…..Great book. I do not talk to my mother. She lies to drain money out of the children. Most of them lived with me.

      • I have severe burning pain from the neck down 3 1/2 years. I am getting off pain pills and need something. Drs also want me on antidepressants. Does this pren pill work for pain?

  15. Aces Score 8
    Resiliency: 5
    Age: 39
    Gender: female
    Education: AAS working on BA
    Smoker:
    Drink: Socially
    Depressed: no
    Suicidal tendencies: none
    Mental illness: PTSD, ADD, OCD
    Physical illness: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, Gilbarts Syndrome, asthma,
    ACES not calculated- viral meningitis, bullied at school, caregiver turncoats (we would go to grandmother for protection and she would convince my mom to go back to my dad) born to teen parents.
    Subsequent life: pregnant at 15 mom at 16, married at 18 divorced at 22, grandmother at 32.
    Married for 15 years with 3 happy and healthy children. Run and own a successful business, advocate for children, train PD for early childhood professionals, no longer talk to my father or most of his family.
    Activity Level: Ski instructor, sport climb, single track mountain biking,

    The discussion and somewhat debate above on ADD/ADHD and it’s origins or misdiagnosis intrigues me. I feel that what science is finding currently in relation to this is that once again we are back to the chicken before the egg conundrum in that some may naturally have a propensity from the womb for ADD, while others may “end up with it” so to speak due to their environment. think about a child born blind while another has an accident that causes it. It makes sense! A human could be born with a re-uptake issue or damage done to the developing early childhood brain can cause damage. However the child born with a re-uptake issue that doesn’t experience any ACE’s and develops early interventions due to a loving, caring and apprpriately developmental environment may never have need for diagnosis. While the other may go further down the winding stari case of unfocusable twilight.

    Sarah in Feb 2013 talked about dual exceptional giftedness and ADD . These so go hand in hand- I have seen it a dozen times or more. I am excited to look up the suggested study on it!

  16. Pingback: Taking Surveys For Money For Kids - Surveys

  17. Ace: 10
    Resiliency: 2 (This is hard for someone who lived in 42 foster homes and aged out at 18 to calculate).
    Age: 30
    Gender: female
    Education: BA
    Smoker: No
    Drink: Socially
    Depressed: yes
    Suicidal tendencies: attempted once in childhood, once at 26.
    Mental illness: PTSD, MDD, GAD

    I think the ACES score is a bit simplistic in some ways and doesn’t really capture some very damaging childhood experiences. I experienced a great deal of abuse before and in foster care, but I think what has screwed me up the most is the foster care experience of bouncing around, never belonging, being rejected repeatedly.

    • Thanks for adding your experience, Cricket. You are one very strong woman to have survived so much. I agree – the ACE score is simple. That’s its beauty in engaging people to understand its significance. And I believe it’s an entry to understanding lives like yours, resulting in a deep appreciation for what you’ve survived and a gritty determination to change our systems so that it doesn’t happen on such a huge scale, as you endured, or even on a small scale. We have enough to deal with in the hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods that Mother Nature throws at us to test our mettle.

  18. Pingback: Grassroots Change

  19. Name: Frances Allen
    Age: 22
    Smoker: Yes
    Resiliency Score: 7
    Ace score: 6
    Mental health: depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, add and ocd.
    I’m not sure what the resiliency score proves so if someone could answer that it would be much appreciated.
    Currently married with no kids yet.

    • Hi, Frances. Thanks for adding your story.
      The resilience score gets at a couple of things — understanding that you had some support as a child, which helps ameliorate the effects of ACEs. And understanding how to build some or more resilience into your life now.
      Cheers, Jane

  20. Name: Rachel
    Ace: 8
    Resiliency: 5
    Age: 24
    Gender: female
    Education: BS
    Smoker: never
    Drink: rarely
    Depressed: no
    Suicidal tendencies: no
    Mental illness: no
    Sexual: waiting for marriage
    Job performance: glowing resume
    Medicine taking: none
    Close friends: 3
    Close to family: father’s side, yes
    Not listed ACE: brother committed suicide

    JESUS HEALS! I should not be where I am!

  21. Pingback: Childhood Trauma and the NFL | American Mothers of Lost Children

  22. Ace score : 4

    Chinese female aged 31.
    Survived a single episode of chilhood molest by stranger around age 4 to 7. Disclosure took 6 or 7 years.
    Parents poor with low education level for 2 years and 5 years. Parents on bad term. Abusive emotionally, verbally, physical. Not much supports. Financial difficulties consistent through growing up.
    seeking counselling and psy help for anxiety, ocd issues. Chronic feeling of low health constant going to docs. Hypochondriac tendency.

  23. Pingback: Oh how I loath thee, yet thou is not worth the energy. | Jodie Nicole

  24. Pingback: 전세계의 최신 영어뉴스 듣기 - 보이스뉴스 잉글리쉬

  25. Pingback: A Kinder Gentler Courtroom with Trauma Informed Judges | American Mothers of Lost Children

  26. Pingback: How the NFL can stop abuse and keep its players on the field « ACEs Too High

    • If you feel you could use some help, you could use some help. I’d recommend looking for free or low-cost clinics in your community; they will either have a counselor or can recommend one to you. Or, if you’re a member of a faith-based organization, see if a member of your clergy has had trauma-informed training. There are also online resources, ranging from adult children of alcoholics to people who are struggling with the effects of verbal abuse.

  27. Pingback: Trauma-informed judges take gentler approach, administer problem-solving justice to stop cycle of ACEs « ACEs Too High

  28. I could not figure out the survey, it was not accessible to me as a blind person. Have you ever mentioned disabled persons, as I was trained about disabled persons and abuse, stalking and sexual abuse? There were not edit boxes for the survey. How do you feel these out? Lynne

    • Hi, Lynne: Thank you for your comment. I’ll figure out how to make the survey accessible to you and others who are blind. The ACE Study measured only 10 types of childhood adversity: physical, sexual and verbal abuse; physical and emotional neglect; and five types of family dysfunction — a family member in prison, a family member who is depressed or mentally ill, a family member who abuses alcohol or other drugs, losing a parent through divorce or separation, and witnessing a mother being abused.
      Of course there are other types of childhood adversity, but the ACE Study did not measure them, not because they aren’t traumatic, but because those 10 were the most common mentioned by people in a pilot group and the types of trauma had been researched individually as to their consequences. The point of the ACE Study is that trauma is common and, if there is no intervention, it can have lifelong consequences.

  29. Pingback: The Beginning of the End… of Bullying | The Zorgos Reader

  30. Pingback: By The Numbers – UrbanPromise ACEs | UrbanPromise Wellness Center

  31. Pingback: How Our Childhood Affects Our Health as Adults

  32. Pingback: Mindfulness protects adults from physical, mental health consequences of childhood abuse, neglect • SJS

  33. After being extremely numb, dissociative, isolating/avoiding relationships with resulting depression and OCD for several decades, I have come across some material and information that has helped me tremendously that I would like to share with all of you.

    Upon readiing Byron Katie, Brene Brown, NVC by Dr. Rosenberg, Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle I have been gently shaken awake by the hands of GOD. Also, reading and going to ACA meetings, Michael Singer, Michael Brown and upcoming authors like Pia Mellody, Pema Chodron, etc. and being vulnerable, open, honest in safe environments in workshops, meetings, home watching movies, etc. crying when the feelings have arose over the last 11 years has unfroze me and woken me up.

    • CK1224: I agree and find the work of the folks you cite and many others to be VERY valuable along with what is coming out of the developing social neuroscience perspectives. I do my best to integrate this in my work with adults who receive behavioral health services in community settings. It is amazing how many mental health professionals still have much to learn about ACES and ways of “being with” adults that help service recipients find ways of healing that work for them. I’m interested in connecting with others around this to reformulate our approaches and to identify ways to document the positive effects.
      Much of the work in Arizona is focused on children and families which is so needed. Yet in addition to the health problems, the challenging experiences we have with adults – both in and out of behavioral health programs – can be traced to the effects of ACE (consider for example how this appears in poor customer service, incomplete communication among professionals, work teams, etc).
      A few other people to check in with are: John H. Lee, Jacqueline Small, Sherry Mead, …..
      Thank you for your post!

      • Thanks Bliss, I’m in Houston at the moment, but my family is in Tucson and Mesa and I might be back there this winter, so we could have a chat if you are in those areas.

        Namaste, Chuck

  34. Pingback: Mindfulness protects adults from physical, mental health consequences of childhood abuse, neglect « ACEs Too High

  35. Grateful to discover this information. First I have heard of ACE, and overwhelmed with information – not a bad thing. I can’t wrap my head around the number of women and men who suffer and I can include myself in those numbers. ACE score of 9 – resilience – 3. I am an extremely sensitive woman of 60. Healing completely – I believe – is not possible. A wound of the soul, doesn’t repair easily and leads to isolation for self-preservation. May we all find some joy and peace and find the support we so desperately require. I will bring this information to my therapist.

  36. Pingback: How Our Childhood Affects Our Health as Adults | Attachment Matters

  37. I wound up with an ACE of 8, and a Resilience score of 13.

    In the last 4 years, I’ve had a knee injury, a couple of wrist injuries, a couple of ankle sprains, injured 4 fingers, Pneumonia with lasting damage in the way of asthma and chronic bronchitis, Severe intermittent adult onset asthma that has me on the highest control meds possible, depression, anxiety, PTSD (unofficial), pulmonary embolism, lung nodules, concussion and there’s probably others that I am not thining of. Oh yeah, the blood transfusion due to hemorrhaging on blood thinners, and trying to come back from the resulting anemia. My hemoglobin went from 12 to 7 in 4 days. I lost 75% of my hair, two years ago. I’ve had some regrowth, but not to the level of restoration. I had to cut off 30 inches because of the problem.

    Asthma took 2 years to get controlled, in that time the coughing trashed other systems that may or may not recover. A asthma attack takes me down for 2 weeks, and then triggers the anxiety and then the depression. Severe major recurrent depression was treated for 3 years before going critical and another 18 months to clear up to just partial remission, I am still not officially in recovery. There was a near hospitalization due to the depression.

    As if having a broken mind was not enough, I wound up breaking my brain. The concussion is the latest thing. It’s been 3 weeks and I am just getting to the point of not having headache, still light/noise sensitive, still have secondary whiplash that my chiropractor is working on. I’ve not been able to take enough time off of work because I am out of time. I am weak and tired, can’t exercise, have spent a bunch of time sleeping and resting, so I am totally decompensated. It will take months to get back to

    I’ve gone through my FMLA, sicktime and savings 2.5 times. I am currently out of sick time entirely, so with things wrapping on a work project, I am taking time off as vacation. I would have to use vacation anyway, and doing so this way, saves me from doctor certification and leave paperwork and going back and forth etc. I am using my health care benefit and sicktime faster than I can accrue it due to asthma, accidents etc. I worry that something serious will happen, because if I need to take a bunch of time off, it has to be life-threatening for my time off to be covered after I run out of paid time off.

    At this point, I want to redo my house to be safer for me, less slippery floors, fewer sharp corners to give me concussions, less clutter to trip over. I am having 80 year old problems at 44 and I need to make my house and yard safer. There are three kids in my house from 21 to 9, who don’t understand the clutter problem or that one show left in a walkway can put me in the hospital and out of work, and I am the wage earner.

    The problem is that I can’t do it, because I have become weak, unbalanced and have little energy left over after work, healing from trauma all the time.

  38. Through out my life i can’t figure why i have difficulty learning and many other issues, crying incendent, dying, suicidal thought, loneliness, abandonment, and fears. At a workshop this week the topic of The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) was presented to us it made me becoming more distress and but understand myself, i now know I am children of the Secret War (Vietnam War) by far many other traumas occurred in my life. I’m married with 8 children, age 30 down to 6 years old, working at a Pre-school of non profit organization. I’m seeking help…

  39. Why does question #7 only interested in if my mother or stepmother abused? What if my father/stepfather was abused? The author of this page needs to re-write this to at least try to hide their sexism.

    • As mentioned in the description about the ACE Study, there are, of course, many other types of trauma, such as witnessing a sibling being abuse, being bullied, witnessing violence outside the home, living in a war zone, being homeless, and, indeed, witnessing a father/stepfather being abused. And the researchers know that. The 10 types that were measured were chosen because people in pilot study identified those 10, and there was a significant amount of research already existing about the consequences of the effects of each individual type of trauma. So, if you witnessed a father or stepfather being abused, you can safely count that as an ACE. And I am sorry if you grew up in a household where that type of trauma was occurring; it has an indelible effect.

  40. Pingback: Neuroplasticity Quiz Answers & Drawing Winners! | Sharon Wachsler

    • Female 44, Ace = 8, Resilience =2. Retook the resilience test and substituted God for parent, friend and family and my score is 14. Life is challenging and I still struggle but I have the tools to work through it. AWESOME

  41. Pingback: To prevent childhood trauma, pediatricians screen children and their parents…and sometimes, just parents « ACEs Too High

  42. Ace score 7 resiliency score 3. Not surprised at the ace score results but I am alittle surprised at the low resiliency score.

  43. I scored a 10 on ACEs and 8 on resiliency. I’m a little surprised by the low resiliency score. As an adult, having experienced over 20 years of therapy with the last 10 with an OUTSTANDING practitioner, I can honestly say that my trauma has less impact on me than for most with similar experiences. I don’t believe that any of us are ever done healing, but I feel (BIG statement) and I know that I am whole in mind and Spirit. My resiliency, I believe, is largely to the credit of my mother who, though she was killed when I was three, made it clear I was loved, lovable, and created a picture of another reality than the one I was living. I continue my journey and healing through my passion in creating a world where the impact of trauma is reduced and, ultimately, eradicated.

  44. I am not surprised, 7 and 12. No wonder at almost 44 it feels like my body is falling apart. Luckily I have a wonderful therapist and good social life. But I am voluntarily single and have no real bond with anyone in my family. So chosen family is really important, and knowing how to manage depression and anxiety amongst other things.

  45. I scored 8 on the ACE quiz and 4 on the Resilience quiz, none of which are still relevant in my life. There ought to be an ‘N/A’ category on the Resilience quiz, though, as a number of the questions didn’t apply.

  46. Pingback: The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the Largest Public Health Study You Never Heard Of | Reclaiming Futures

  47. Pingback: What is your ACE score? - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

  48. Pingback: 8 Tips for Using Recreational Drugs Responsibly - Psychedelic Frontier

  49. Pingback: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Future Mental Health | Silence Shattered

  50. Pingback: Attachment Theory and the Gospel: explored in a relational-developmental context | Full House with ACEs

  51. 2 ACEs, would have been 3 if “physical harm” hadn’t specified bruises. I was frequently slapped in the face, or spanked for things that most spankers don’t consider “spank-worthy.”

  52. Pingback: Childhood Trauma Questionnaire | Childhood Trauma Recovery

  53. The ACE’s and resiliency scores aren’t an absolute scale obviously, just a relative scale: I scored a 6 or 7 on ACE and a 13 out of 14 on resiliency, but endured intense suffering because of a deformity and being very sensitive, so someone with a 4 or 5 or 6 could have more issues than someone with a 9 or 10, just depending on other circumstances and conditions and the person’s personality, but it is a great starting point for therapy and discussion along with the resiliency scale.

    What’s more important is what can be done about it after the fact? And what can be done about it with future generations growing up and coming into the world?

    I believe Pia Mellody has done some trauma work as well as Dr. Gabor Mate, I just read, “Talking Back to Dr. Phil” based on process-oriented psychology (love-based psychology), somatic releasing with peter levine), cathartic workshops, Dr. Brene Brown (vulnerability and shame) have helped me out as well. Radical Acceptance, Forgiveness and Happiness books as well as Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie and on an on has helped. Mostly, crying intensely for a decade has helped me probably more than anything else to unnumb and process old painful feelings and emotions I suppressed as a child.

    • I am a registered nurse from Vancouver Island. I have read some of Dr. Mate’s work (which is brilliant in my opinion), and am also somewhat familiar with Peter Levine’s somatic experiencing, both of which you refer to. Luckily for me (and so many others), I also have experienced and studied Integrative Body Psychotherapy, (based out of California and numerous institutes worldwide). In addition to the cognitive (understanding) links, and the cathartic experiences of releasing childhood trauma, IBP goes the extra mile. IBP assists and teaches you to find resources, “goodness” in your own body and provides you with body-based skills to increase your resiliance. IBP therapists must “walk the talk”, meaning they have to have done at least 100 hours of their own work, and they understand trauma “from the inside-out”. IBP is entirely wholistic, meaning it encompasses body, mind and spirit in profound ways. Dianne Clarence, RN(c), BScN

    • Chuck, thank you for this. So important to know that new experiences (e.g., good therapy) can coiunterbalance ACEs and that a decade of tears is healing. There really is neuronal plasticity to make these changes at the level of the biology that underpins the experience of emotion. :-)

  54. I Believe everyone can be helped by the teaching of Dr.Gabor Maté from Canada that has done a lot of research on this topic…anyways i hope you look him up he has a lot of youtube videos.

    • Dr.Gabor Mate is amazing…I accidentally discovered him on youtube…he makes so much sense…what a breath of fresh air

  55. I agree with this statement. Almost 10 months ago, I lost my 22 year old daughter to suicide. My grieving has been catastrophic. I have 3 younger kids. My son is away at college, my younger son is 16, my daughter is 11. I go to group and grief therapy, but my kids refuse. I know that, since their sister’s death, I have been pretty emotionally unavailable to them. I don’t mean to be, but this grief has pretty much zapped me to the core of my being. I worry about the damage I am doing to my younger kids, just because of dealing with my own grief processes.

    • Dear Kristen,

      Wow! You have experienced a major blow – just reading what you wrote knocked the air out of me. First and foremost, I say bravo! to you that, even while grieving such a tremendous loss, you are in touch with the fact that your behavior can affect your children. When I finished reading, my primary thought was: who else is in your life and your children’s life who can maybe step in more? I know I survived a difficult childhood because of an Aunt who made me feel special. For right now, is there someone outside your immediate family that makes each of your children feel special? Would it be possible to ask these individuals if they would spend time with your children and really tune in to them and explain why? If you note you are asking this particular person (or persons) because they have the ability to make your child feel special, they may well feel extremely honored, both because they make a difference for your child and they also are making a difference in helping you. I know so many of us don’t want to ask for help . . . And people go on with their lives and aren’t always tuned in (or have never experienced) the cycle of grief to know how hard the first year is, that grief subsides very slowly, or how to be there for someone who is grieving. So many people want to help in a situation like yours, but don’t know what to do. Well, this is your chance to let them step in and feel good that they can help.

      Again, your awareness that you may not be as emotionally able as you would like is a big plus. So is the fact that you are getting help in dealing with your own grief. Maybe you can take that awareness and just acknowledge to your children how you feel and your concern that you aren’t as emotionally available as usual. That conversation may be the starting point to becoming more emotionally available to them.

      My prayers are going out to you and your family, wherever you are!

    • @Kristijrn: I am so very sorry for your recent loss. I wish I could tell you some sort of way through it, for there is absolutely no going around what you must process, but I cannot because loss of a beloved child is such a personal and unique experience to each of us. My heart and soul goes out to you with loving kindness, healing and relief that you so deserve and need in this time. I can tell you this and hope that it helps. Time and space, as you move forward from the point of loss, do help in dulling the pain and grief that I know all too well you feel. The first few months after my daughter Alissha chose to leave this world, I found 2 things that helped me to sleep, which in turn helped me to survive and grow stronger.

      1.) I was watching PBS and a program by Dr. Wayne Dyer came on called “Wishes Fulfilled.” I recorded it on my DVR and played it through the night as I slept on the couch. There was a woman on that program (whom I have now met) named Anita Moorjani who told about her Near Death Experience (NDE) and what she experienced on the other side before she decided to return to her cancer ridden body. She had been wheeled into the hospital at 82 lbs with stage 4 cancer and was there to spend her last 24 hours on earth. There was no earthly cure for her to be had. Within 2 weeks of her decision to return to her body, all cancer had left her. Scientists cannot explain her cure as there is no earthly explanation for it and the eradication of cancer cells in that short a time should have killed her as they were part of almost all the cells in her body. Her book is called “Dying to Be Me.”

      2.) The second thing I did was to imagine a large hand in a cupped position gently coming down over me and covering me when I laid down. I imagined that this was the hand of God sheltering me and healing me. I honestly don’t know where this vision came from as I am not a particularly religious person. However, it was the only thing that caused me to be able to sleep for the first 2-10 months for more than a few minutes at a time. Because I could now sleep, my mind and body could strengthen even though my spirit was shattered. Eventually, the mind and body helped my spirit to grow stronger and mend as well. This gave me growing abilities to help and care for my other children to a better capacity. My advice is to find “something” that is of comfort to you and to picture that every time the grief and morose thoughts come calling. Start small and grasp onto that with everything you have and you will find that soon you will be able to sustain it longer and other pictures or phrases will come to you as well to replace the ones that are causing you harm now.

      I also printed and hung up phrases and quotes which inspired me and my children all over the house. On my mirror, the door, my desk, the walls, even the television.

      I lost my 21 year old daughter to suicide December 17th, 2011. She had been sexually abused by her biological father. The ensuing 2 years of court drama to get him put away and kept away from her and my other 2 children (all his biological children, my only children, and my only marriage of 12 years) was a nightmare for all of us. Once again, those in authority manipulated our situation to their benefit and my ex-husband received only 10 years of jail time rather than the multiple- life sentences the Judge in the case said he would have given had it been properly prosecuted. He admitted to 72 counts of molestation before the age of 3 years old. And that was only because she could not be a witness for anything done to her prior to the age of 3. His actual rape of her occurred on her 10th birthday when we were separated. The hundreds of other counts of molestation that there must have been along with the rape, were never prosecuted. He is free today and was allowed an early release even though I was told that would be an impossibility in his case.

      Because of my own childhood trauma, I was ill-equipped to handle the needs she truly had after what she had gone through. It was not for lack of trying for she was my every thought and determination in every moment of the day. I love her dearly as I have never loved another and feel her absence in my life to this day.

      I have an ACES of 6 and Resiliency of 4. However, like others here, I do not feel the questions are at all comprehensive enough to properly quantify other attributes of childhood trauma, neglect and shame.

      I was raised by a seriously mentally ill mother and my father was overseas in the Air Force quite a lot in our early years. My mother was in and out of the hospital more times than I can count for suicide attempts, yet the 4 of us were continually left in her sole care. She threatened to kill us on almost a daily basis, and told us such things as she had poisoned our food, but we didn’t know which meal or which type of food was poisoned. We were all malnourished as a result. Another of her ongoing tortures was to put us all in the car, securely in our seatbelts, then drive to the edge of a local pier and tell us that if she even heard us breathe… she would drive the car into the water and we would all drown together. There is a lot more I could say there, but I don’t feel it would be of any good purpose. I am certain many here will be able to fill in the blanks of a childhood utterly dependent upon a person such as this.

      My point is that for those of us who survive severe childhood trauma there springs an ongoing source of grief and loss as other events unfold throughout our lives. The problem is that we are always trying to play ‘catch up’ with what we view the rest of society already somehow knows and we lack. Even those who might be viewed as determined over-achievers and self-driven people such as myself, deeply feel the wounds and the loss of what we do not possess.

      Sometimes I feel amazed that I can learn any subject I put my mind to, can easily speak with and sell to people from the poorest of circumstances to the wealthiest, know that I can produce any material result that I want … except when it comes to my interpersonal relationships. Those are too deep and too close for me to be really very good at and are always, inevitably, my Achilles heel.

      You see, I lack the ability to truly connect in the manner in which I desire. The only people I have ever felt that connection with or for, were my own children. I never knew how much love I was capable of until I saw each of their little faces and held them for the first time in my arms. It is those biological and incalculable changes that somehow occur within our chemistry that raise us to be more than we even imagined we could be, despite what happened in the past.

      I cannot claim to know what will stop the cycle and patterns of abuse from generation to generation, though the question is one I ponder frequently. In my younger days, I had thought I would be the one in my family to break this generational curse of sorts. But the problem with coming from such abuse, without help or true guidance, is that YOU are not even aware of the little things you yourself are doing to promote its ongoing patterns. That is why research and forums like this are so very important. After reading an article by Dr. Tina Marie Hahn, I joined this site as it is the first of its kind that I have come across. A proactive approach by those who have suffered abuse and want to be a part in identifying the indicators and stopping it through help and understanding – not legalism.

      I do not think that it is the will of any of us to continue this legacy, I believe it is the ignorance of where we came from that somehow subconsciously propels us along a similar path that may not be easily recognized nor remedied. I believe it is the lack of compassion for ourselves that causes us to somehow ‘miss’ how we are not being compassionate enough towards others. Likewise we fall into similar relationships as those we were raised in, even though it may be outwardly subtle or non-detectable, until we are too far in to easily get out without more trauma.

      I sometimes can look back on my own life’s circumstances with a merely observant eye and without much emotional attachment (though that is not always the case.) I have found that by doing so, I can more easily identify where I went wrong in my own decisions and how those decisions affected others who were dependent upon me. I did not intend to cause harm … yet, by my lack of good judgment and a place to seek trusted council in the matters of life, I did cause harm. I also know that I did the best I could with what I had and who I was at that time and place. I have also made it my cause to go to those whom I have caused harm, whether purposely or accidentally, apologize and make amends as I can.

      That does not wholly remove the pain I feel for damage, whether intended or not, that I have caused others; but it does give me a window to peer in at myself, my own struggles and my wish to be a better person every day than I was the day before with more compassion and understanding. It allows me to forgive myself which in turn, I think, provides me with the tools and skills I never received in my formative years.

      Like so many here and in so many other places around the world, I have struggled to understand and comprehend how humanity is capable of meting out such atrocities upon one another. However, despite anything I have experienced, my soul… that untouchable yet all-knowing part of myself that is truly ‘myself,’ also knows that humanity is capable of pouring out love, acceptance, understanding, generosity, advocacy, faith and forgiveness.

      It is my belief that it is up to each of us, no matter what we have personally suffered or endured, to go beyond the material conditions we have experienced and live in the imagination of the way it should be. The way it should have been for us, our siblings, our children and even our parents and grandparents.

      Make it your life’s work to heal thyself, to help others, to seek out books, art, science, people who inspire and promote the goodness of our existence here. Support them just as they support and uplift you. Do not fall into watching newscasts filled with despair or reading articles of all the atrocities. Give some small part of yourself, your time, your money, your resources to helping ‘somewhere’ but let it begin with helping yourself and renewing your mind and spirit.

      I heard a Joyce Meyer sermon one time (she is Christian speaker who was sexually abused by her father her entire life and eventually mended that relationship before he died) in which she said,

      “I had two choices. I could be pitiful or I could be powerful, but I cannot be both. I CHOSE to be powerful.”

      I offered that same choice to myself and made my decision, though there are days it is not always an easy one for me. I offer that choice to all of you here as well. Only you control how you perceive what this day and all the rest to come will bring your way. Choose wisely my friends and comrades of abuse, grief and loss – for it is in each of us as individuals that the next generation will find their strength to make the choices that face them.

  56. Pingback: In the middle of the night, finding resilience in a storm of ACEs « ACEs Too High

  57. Pingback: Got Your ACE Score? « ACEs Too High | Psychosis Links

  58. Pingback: Foundations | Middle of the Pacific

  59. Pingback: What’s Your ACE Score? | Darkness to Light Blog

  60. Pingback: Author of the forthcoming book Trauma Nation: How to Truly Address the Roots of Violence, Suicide, and Suffering in America | Leah Ida Harris

  61. Pingback: It’s About the Trauma: How to Truly Address the Roots of Violence and Suffering in our Society | Mad In America

  62. //apologies. capitalization isn’t working…//

    another point that may be obvious, but sometimes isn’t. save this narrative and revisit it from time to time. what you’ve written is both a ‘cry from the heart,’ and a checklist of the sins and insults that you’ve survived through. as you grow and add to your parenting and survival skills, this statement will become increasingly a yardstick of how you came to cope and heal. it may also be a good place to go when being a parent and new mom starts to overwhem you.

    and, as these things appear, make notes to yourself about younsuccesses, with an eye towards showing this to your child/children, when the time is right.

    stay strong, good lady. you are a winner…

    adb

  63. I feel that losing a sibling at a young age should be added in because this can cause surviving children to feel unloved or neglected while the parents go through the grieving process. This is especially the case when the surviving sibling is not supplied with grief counseling.

  64. I scored 9. I feel that scoring 9 should mean something to me and that I should do something or research something…but, just like when I was a child, there doesn’t seem to be time or energy for any of that. My schedule won’t allow it. Not even time to consider it or read all the information. For years, I’ve made people laugh with my all-to-true statement that “I simply don’t have time to have that nervous breakdown I’ve earned.”

  65. Pingback: Adverse Childhood Experiences

  66. My score was 3. The reason why I took this was because I really wanted to know if I was abused or not. I am 13 now but I know that I am not abused anymore. It still is very hard for me at home though. Is it normal for me to want to live with another family? Cause a lot I feel like I hate my home and I just want to live with another family or even in a foster home. My mom and I are very close but my dad an I aren’t. My mom works and my dad stays at home. I am homeschooled so I have to stay home with my dad all day. I really hate it and just want my mom a lot. I wish my dad would go to work and my mom would be home with me. My dad is super protective and won’t let me have freedom and have friends. It is super frustrating. Does anyone out there know what to do?
    -Emily

    • Hi, Emily: One of the ways to build resilience is to develop social contacts (i.e., friends) and to do volunteer work. Volunteer work is an important part of schooling, and the education coordinator your family works with would encourage that, and might even have suggestions. Also, it is abusive if your parents do not allow you to have friends, because friends are an important and necessary part of growing up. So are mentors, whom you can find at volunteer organizations.
      Here’s a site a friend of mine runs for teens and parents: StraightTalkTNT.org
      And if you ever feel unsafe, you can check out the Crisis Text Line.
      Take care of yourself — Jane

      • Hi, I have been very interested in learning more about studies conducted on individuals with High Ace Scores who seem to be resilient to the effects, naturally. I think much could be learned from this category of people. For example, my Ace score is 9 and though my past is traumatic, and I do suffer from depression often and have moments of “triggers”, I am able to recognize the reasons behind the thought process. I am a successful, professional functioning person and I am not certain why I have developed resiliency considering the risk factors. I know there are many others who are similar, and feel it is worth trying to determine the “why” … thoughts?

      • @Angel – Alice Miller makes the point that the presence of a single enlightened witness on the side of the child – someone who knows and cares – can make all the difference. Then, at least, the child knows they are being MIStreated and has some source of love to strive toward. Otherwise, abused children tend to internalize negative self-images that are consistent with the abuse they have no way of knowing they don’t deserve.

    • Emily,
      Have you tried to talk to your mom about your feelings surrounding your dad?
      Maybe your mom would understand better. Having friends is an important part of childhood/adulthood. Certainly your mom would understand that. What are they afraid of? Abuse comes in many forms. Just because nobody is beating you, does not mean that there is no abuse. Keeping you away from friends and isolated is abusive. Sometimes, having an open conversation with one or both parents will make a difference. Tell them how you are feeling.

  67. Pingback: Vermont first state to propose bill to screen for ACEs in health care « ACEs Too High

  68. Dear Jane Ellen — Thank you. I’ve been searching for a link between obesity and childhood trauma for quite some time. I was diagnosed with complex PTSD in my early thirties and have struggled with excess weight on and off my entire life. Not surprisingly, I scored a 6 on the ACE test. I was a low birth weight baby and wasn’t fed properly as a young child; I also was sexually abused by a neighbor. My mother was mentally ill and extremely verbally abusive and my father was an alcoholic. I wish I could extricate myself from this. Therapy hasn’t helped much. I’ve bookmarked this site. I’m not giving up, but the economic downturn has made things worse and my symptoms haven’t improved with age. I was also assaulted by a boyfriend in my late teens — this was a life-threatening event in which a stranger intervened (or else I would be dead). I was a precocious child and managed to do well in school despite all — I’m grateful for that.

    • Brigit, when and if you have a chance, seek out someone trained in one of the more current (and well researched) therapies like somatic experiencing, EMDR, OEI (Observed & Experiential Integration), or the ones that Chuck and others mentioned above. On a self-help note if you try several you might find an ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meeting that fits for you, or, ISA (Incest Survivors Anonymous). They even have some phone and on-line meetings.

  69. As a new mama I have been reflecting more and more on my traumatic childhood and how angry I am at the horrors those experiences brought to my adult life emotionally, psychologically, and socially – this is the one I’m the most angry about because it affects my relationships, my ability to cope with stress, my professional life, my anxiety levels, and really I just feel like I have fog brain all the time and I have a really difficult time articulating myself and speaking clearly without frustrating whomever I am speaking to. It makes me angry that my parents would be so selfish as to expose a child to such an unhealthy environment. As a victim, obviously I am now susceptible to repeating the same pattern and exposing my children to a negative and abusive environment because I was a victim to emotional and mental abuse for 18 long hard years, and I think that’s why now going into my mid-30s and finally become a parent myself I am finally starting to scratch the surface and begin to deal with the abuse by trying to heal…… Because I do not want to be that person in my own family that exposes my children to an unhealthy environment and I’ve already seen signs of it in myself and my baby isn’t even 6 months old yet. So even though my parents are being very helpful and supportive by helping us out as our lives adjust to having a baby around, I’m really angry at my parents because I cannot imagine exposing my child to any of the crap they put me through. And now that I have to deal with being a mom AND working full time, I just feel like my mind and body are not equipped to deal with this level of stress. I spent my whole entire childhood and adolescent in flight or fight mode and I feel like my cortisol levels must have reached record breaking levels back then. I feel like I wasn’t taught to cope with conflict so now, any time something even remotely stressful happens at work, I go into ‘freak out’ mode and want to quit my job and it’s just awful to feel like this. I feel like if I have to work and be a mom I’m inevitably going to suck at one of them because I wasn’t taught how to deal with stress in a healthy way and I’m susceptible to alcoholism, blah, blah, blah. I just want to quit my job and focus on being a stay at home mom but I can’t do that because we need the money and I would feel a tremendous amount of guilt if I just up and quit. Now, here’s the weird part…..I feel guilty for being mad at my parents (is this normal?). I feel guilty because they were actually good people and good parents. They loved me and they took care of me as far as feeding me, clothing me, getting me to school, encouraging me in extra-curriculurs, that kind of thing. But they H-A-T-E-D each other with a passion and it was constant yelling, berating, cursing, throwing, name-calling, screaming, hatred, hatred, hatred, chaos all the time. And they would put me right in the middle of it from the time I could walk and talk. It also probably didn’t help that my dad was an alcoholic. But the alcoholism is not what I remember being the problem. I remember my dad drank and whatnot, but I think he drank because my mom is and was such a nag. Her mother was the same way. Constant nagging. Constant negativity. Constant stress. It was just awful. I can hardly stand to be around her now because she has such bad energy and is so extremely negative. My dad still drinks but he has his drinking under much better control. I also feel guilty because I have no ill feelings toward my dad cuz he is such a happy guy and fun to be around. My mom blames him for her negativity but I don’t see it that way. I think she is just generally a miserable person and therefore makes everyone around her miserable, yes so much so that she led him to drink. I’m not blaming everything on her. I took her side and was mad at my dad for the first 18 years of my life until I realized this was their problem not mine and I got really mad at my mom for manipulating me (a child) to take her side all those years. So when I turned 18, I kind of turned on her and tried to make up for lost time for all the years I shunned my dad for things that had zero to do with me. Now I am really close with him, and I haven’t been able to forgive my mom because she is still so negative all the time and I can’t stand being around negative people. If she weren’t my mom I would have nothing to do with her. But she’s my mom and I feel like it’s easier to put up with her than it would be to shut her out of my life and have to deal with that guilt. After, like I said she was a good parent. I just don’t like her as a person and that brings me a tremendous amount of guilt. I have seen several therapists to try and deal with all of this emotional baggage but I just can’t seem to find one that has helped me to get in a good place with it all. I am aware that I don’t want to repeat the same pattern so that recognition is good, but I want to get to a place where I don’t feel so angry that they put me through all of this. I could never concentrate in school because my home life was so chaotic. I really feel like this experience halted my growth and development and in essence, gave me a serious and unnecessary learning disability. There are situations now that I deal with as an adult that give me so much unnecessary anxiety because of what they put me through. Now that I’m a parent all of these emotions are rising to the surface and I’m at a loss for how to deal with them at this point. Meditation maybe?….practicing mindfulness? I am big on positive thinking and having a good attitude and that seems to help but I also feel like I want to maybe find a support group for adults who were exposed to the same kind of mental and emotional trauma. Am I just being dramatic? Do I need to just ‘get over it’? Sometimes when I bring up all the shit I went through (that makes me who I am now), my husband is just like, well you aren’t in that situation any more so I don’t want to hear excuses. And to a point I know he’s right, but I’m confused and frustrated because I just want someone to hug me and say ‘I’m so sorry you had to go through what you did.’

    • Thank you for telling your story, Martha. Your instincts are right, to stay with the positive, and to get help so that you don’t pass on your experiences, as your mother did with what she learned from her parents (and your father probably did, too). This isn’t something you “just get over”. It takes consciousness — which you already have on so many levels, which is terrific — and assistance and work and practice. For yourself, look for a counselor who understands the long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences. Some people have been helped by EMDR; others by neurofeedback. Here’s a list of recommended therapies for PTSD (which is what many people who’ve experienced ACEs have). And for your relationship with your child, check out Triple P Parenting, which is used by tens of thousands of people in 25 countries.

    • I am sorry that you had to go through all that horseshit as a young child. Children only want to be loved and feel safe and secure in their surroundings and time and time again people have children when they shouldn’t even be allowed to have a goldfish.
      I hope you take everything I say and process it, it will sound harsh, but as someone with a score of 8 ACE who has suffered from severe child abuse, emotionally, physically, and extreme neglect, where I didn’t hear the words I love you from my parents for years, I know what works, please understand this. I was beat to hell and back, my parents tried to give me away to complete strangers, I had bi-polar parents who were divorced and my mother remarried and had nothing to do with me, but had two children that she adored. My mother used to baby my sister and brother in front of me while looking at me like she could kill me. Almost like a game to hurt me. I could go on and on with horror stories, but I am telling you all this because I want you to understand how badly my first 18 years were, and how happy I am now and why.
      Before I was doing what my therapist was telling me to do, forgive them, they are only human, or burying my pain deep inside of me, or doing like your husband said and “getting over it” these things only got me drug addiction, bad relationships, and homelessness.
      You must get angry as hell at BOTH your parents. Do not shift blame off of one because they were not as “bad as the other” or didn’t know any better, or couldn’t “control” the other parent. You must realize that your father had a choice to protect you, had a choice NOT to have children, had a choice NOT to get married and had a choice to drag your ass out of that environment and get you somewhere safe and he choose NOT TO. Why did your father marry this woman? Do you truly believe that she just woke up like that one day after you were born and he was in awe and shock? Why excuse him for the pain he has caused you? Did they both fight? Yes, then they are BOTH responsible for your messed up childhood.
      Too often people, mostly Americans, forgive one parent, while hating the other. Hate both, get mad as hell, and process those feelings TODAY! Write in your journal; tell yourself what you are feeling, why you are feeling it and why they BOTH are sorry sick bastards that don’t deserve you. Talk to them; tell them both how you feel, how they made you feel, and what they can do to help heal the pain today. If they ignore your feelings, discount your hurt, tell you to get over it, tell you ANYTHING other than, I never realized the pain we caused you, what can I do? I love you and what could I Possibly do NOW to stop the hurt? Get them out of your life’s THAT INSTANT.
      FAMILIES ARE NOT AS IMPORTANT as society claims, they have no rights over YOUR PROPERTY –YOU! Somehow “society” claims families have this power to make us feel like hell because“blood makes it possible to drag your soul in the dirt all while wearing a happy, happy family face”. Parents have no special powers to treat their children like dirt just because they made you, it’s such an immoral thing to believe this. This is such propaganda, which is another tangent, society tells us this, because the more we accept from birth to death that parents have POWER/RIGHTS over us no matter what, the more we accept authority and obedience, so we can be good little slaves to our masters: police, taxation, religion, government etc.. etc. etc. etcl. bosses, corporations, doctors you name it, it’s indoctrination at the most evil level.

      Start there, I beg of you, learn about yourself, self-knowledge, philosophy and finding a therapist ASAP that advocates complete elimination of your family if they aren’t supportive is the first step to recovery. I would seriously question your decision to marry a man that tells you to “get over it”. It is not your’s to get over, this is NOT A CHOICE, you didn’t want this sort of life, it’s your parents gd responsibility to help you process your feelings, if your parents or husband doesn’t want to help you with that, LEAVE THEM NOW! Parents and children relationships are involuntary, we don’t choose our parents, therefore these SHOULD be the most moral relationships in the world and WAYYY too often they are the most immoral.
      Secondly, research Alice Miller ASAP, read her books, ASAP, start realizing what you missed out in childhood learning trust, peer to peer relationships etc. AND WORK ON THEM. I beg anyone who has had a hellish childhood to do these things, You will thank your lucky dam stars you did.
      I strongly believe people can’t process feelings or heal from past abuse because too often everyone is quick to tell us to accept the abuser back into our lifes, all while THEY are doing NADA to help us from past mistakes THEY CAUSED US! Would there be any other circumstance other than family we would say that about? Doesn’t anyone else see how insane that philosophy is?
      BTW< guilt is from society, you should feel as guilty as not knowing how to speak Japanese. You didn't decide or even probably WANT these 2 as your parents. We are a product of geographical biology, you just didn't win the parent lottery. Why feel guilty about having been abused? Why feel guilty about hating the person who caused you pain? If you were raped then emotionally tormented tonight would you feel guilty that you hated the man who raped you? Why feel differently about your mother? YOU OWE YOUR PARENTS NOTHING MORE THAN WHAT THEY GAVE YOU IN LIFE.

      • I had a mother who had cancer when I was 6 years old. I wish that was an excuse. Both my parents looked like nice church friends. My father had PTSD after the Korean war. Unfortunately, after the divorce, my mom did like yours, selected SOME of the children that she liked and others that she beat on. To the point of breaking bones. She took prescription drugs, and was disfunctionate most of the time.
        I think the saving grace for the younger ones abused? I took the beatings, I shielded them. And still to this day, three men brought their wives to meet me. For the younger men, they went through two marriages before they got a functional wife with no alcohol and one that liked to work.
        I once visited a friend’s psychologist. Actually, from treating her, he felt I was an enabler, and that my past with my mother was making me the “mommy” in friendships that was not healthy for me.
        He told me, my mother would NEVER apologize for what she did to me. That would release control , and she was so manipulative, who would pay her bills? Who would provide for her like no husband she already had?
        There is a very good book you should all read, it is called “Released from Shame” from Dr. Wilson. She was abused by her step father. She names him in seminars, because he cannot hide from her. There are different people that manipulate us: family, work, and church. If we recognize the pattern, we can break it.
        I hold both parents responsible, I talk to my father and not my mother. After getting her cash flow and lump sum money when her second husband died, she refused to pay me back for supporting her as a young 26-31 year old. She then picked her favorite daughter to spend the money with and continued to humiliate me. I have not seen her, but hear through other family members.
        You would not believe the peace if you stop letting society tell you your parents should be off the hook. “Divorcing Your Parents” is a good book. It is about renegotiating your relationship with your parents. And sometimes, you are better off leaving their unhappy manipulative selves to their favorite family members. Why go insane trying to instill God in them?

      • WOW!!! Sixty-six years old and never have I heard THE TRUTH spelled out so perfectly. Just started reading these posts, and am struck by how intelligent and well-written are the contributions. Guess I’m sorting out my own haunted soul at this late date. Just began researching on the net, and stumbled onto the Felitti data…and eventually to this website. Cannot wait to explore more, and IN THE WAKE OF CHAOS will be my lantern into the cave of pain and darkness. I will take the advice to visit with the lovely and compassionate Alice Miller, as well. Thank you.

    • I am so sorry…I understand your inability to cope,,the guilt of not really feeling good about mom. These things are NORMAL for kids who went thru this stuff.
      I am sorry..you had to deal with this honey. Nurture yourself (the little girl in you that was hurt)..and your baby too. Just get over it is only said by people who have never gone thru it. There are many classes that help. Life skills, Restoring Relationships…. There is help. We have to walk through the pain, not around it.

    • Hi Martha, i’m in a situation similar to yours. going to open AA meetings and Al-Anon meetings has been a taste of heaven for me. slowly learning to be an adult who can cope with life! :) also http://www.ohmin,org. you can start now and give your child a much better chance. best to you! so glad you’re aware

  70. Hi I have had much childhood trauma. Sexual abuse, neglect, drugs, mental abuse. I have never really dealt with it and it has destroyed my life. I am only now scratching the surface. I still have so much and feel very alone most times. My Dad is my support but only knows part of what hurts me. He has his own issues and cant be here for me as much as he would like or as much as I need. I have a daughter that I have passed on my behavior to despite my best efforts. She now has a daughter that I am caring for full time. Please help me. I don’t want to pass this on to her. I need help and don’t know where to get it. I have read the information on your site and cried in abundance because you were talking about me. Please I don’t want to be in this dark tunnel anymore. Please help me to experience life without this following me because despite my best efforts I don’t know how.

  71. Pingback: WHY DON'T WE JUST GET OVER IT? - Not On Our Watch America Foundation

  72. I take pregnenolone 30 mg. It is over the counter. I bought it at a health food store. If you had a work up of tests, they might show other lower hormones. I had a car accident and couldn’t sleep and started gaining weight. I lost 6 lbs and 3 inches around my waist in 2 weeks. It is aksi a natural anti-inflammatory drug. I don’t take pain pills anymore for back problems.

  73. Pingback: 8 Tips for Using Recreational Drugs Responsibly | Aaron Moritz

  74. OK… So I have an score of 15 (since many were by different people) and a resilience of 7 (attempted suicide at 11). NOW WHAT?? I’ve been to several different therapists, but I never got the feeling they were interested in heping me actually ‘heal’, but just patching up the behavior and throw some drugs at me to make the outside look good. I know better than to buy into the belief that this approach is successful. Which type of counseling/therapy is most effective in finally healing the wounds of the past so they do not continue to haunt my today??

    I also noticed the ACE does not mention adverse childhood experiences that were not abuse or neglect.. but rather plain ol’ traumatic — such as serious accidents, illnesses (such as anaphylactic shock), etc.? These can also shape the framework of someone’s thought process.

    • Thanks your comment, Elizabeth.
      The ACE Study measured only 10 types of adverse childhood experiences, but there are, of course, others. At the time the study was designed — in the mid-1990s, the researchers chose those 10 because they were the most common identified by people in a pilot study, and there was significant research on the effects of the individual types of trauma. You’ve got the idea — that any trauma can have a deleterious effect on children.
      Choosing a therapist who knows about the ACE Study and about the long-term mental health consequences of childhood trauma would probably be helpful. Different types of therapy work for different people. Here’s a link to the National Center for PTSD’s recommended treatments.
      There’s also SAMHSA’s list of evidence-based practices.

  75. Pingback: ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Basics | SocialWorkSynergy

  76. You know, unless you understand dietary and sleep, you would miss the diabetes link to possible ACE score and abuse/trauma.
    One of the things about our body that is not totally understood? The endocrine system. If cortisol, which is an adrenal hormone is high , it affects sleep. And it affects sugar and eating in your metabolism. I had a car accident, on top of my over 8 ACE score, and I could not sleep at all. I had no energy. I remembered how I felt as a child, with a violent mother who would beat us. I took the beatings for the other children, because she was breaking arms and kids were going to the emergency room.
    The stress and past memories are SOMATIC. They will come back during a stressful incident where you do not have enough sleep. I take pregnenolone, which makes the adrenals lower cortisol, and if you are a woman, the body will produce progesterone. It helps with cognitive function, and pregnenolone is a natural anti inflammatory supplement.

    • My father showed no interest in me because I wasn’t a supreme jock ,my mother was mentally ill from a traumatic childhood. As a child I denied her mental state and tried to be an athlete but I could never measured up. My powerful elder sister took control of all assets of the family and my brother exposed himself to me and made sexual advances to me and never said a nice word to me growing up and he was glorified by my father because he played basketball. They never mentored me and I became self destructive smoking my mother cigarettes and looking for love in all the wrong places. I never realized why I was having such problems but after I had my kids I got an opportunity to try and gain some self worth through their loving eyes which gave me the desire to live . Unfortunately that resulted in being ostracized,my biggest fear after I got the nerve to stick up to my parents which ended our relationship. It hurt bad but slowly I am becoming ok w/out my birth family which feels quite liberating after becoming a successful business woman ,maybe a workaholic ,the problem is my husband continues to bring up my separation from them every time we have an argument he uses it as a weapon dragging me back into the pain of it all.

    • Is pregnenolone something that you must have a prescription for? I have all the symptoms of cyclical Cushing’s Disease (episodes of high cortisol and high ACTH), yet the reason for it hasn’t been found — so nothing can be done about it. I’m starting to realize they will probably never find a physical cause. I am up 150 pounds from my normal, and the one thing the incidents of weight gain all have in common is that they occurred when my security was threatened or I felt emotionally wounded. My eating didn’t increase enough to gain 40 pounds in 25 days, so I know there’s a cortisol connection. Thanks for helping me find another puzzle piece!

  77. I’m 55 and just now starting to feel like I have a chance to feel peace and contentment. My score is 8 with resiliency of 0. The ACE study has helped me understand why it has taken me so long to get where I am today. I started this journey when I was 19 with serious determination. I have had very few advances compared to setbacks but even when all hope was lost I managed to survive long enough to finally see some light at the end of the tunel. I know that I am in infancy at this stage of my quest and that it took more years to get here than I have left in life but I am so very grateful to be where I am today.

  78. Pingback: Will Early Life Trauma Resurface Later In Life? The ACE Test Can Tell | Los Angeles Drug Alcohol Treatment Rehab | KLEAN

  79. Pingback: Godammit, I’m Mad! » Blog Archive » Crazy Mothers Club VII

  80. Pingback: Resilience In The Face Of Adversity | E-stranged

  81. Hi, There. Thanks so much for all this great info. You’ve done a marvelous job of putting the questionnaires together. I’m sure it’s difficult with so many traumatic issues that could impact a person’s life. I did notice that adoption and foster care were not addressed in any of the questions. Almost 3% of the population is adopted. That is a trauma in itself. People seem to think that if you’re adopted, then your life must be perfect. A person can’t wipe out the cellular memories because someone says to or it’s written on a piece of paper. Perhaps there could be a score for the number of primary caregiver transfers. And then there is foster care. Some foster kids have as many as 30 placements. That would play havoc with one’s stress response. There’s also children who were conceived during a rape…Another commenter mentioned the effect of birth trauma. Anyway, please keep up the good work. Society must address the issue of childhood trauma for us to keep moving forward in a positive way.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Mary. Yes, indeed, there are many other types of traumas. The ACE Study researchers recognize that. They decided to address those that people in a small research study had identified, as well as those individual traumas for which there was a significant body of research. The main points of the research are that complex trauma is very common, that there’s a direct link between trauma in childhood and the adult onset of chronic disease, and that the more types a person has, the higher the risk for chronic disease, mental illness, being violent or a victim of violence. It’s very possible that people who have experienced five types of childhood adversity, may have three of those not appearing on the ACE Study (e.g., living in a war zone, witnessing a sibling being abused, experiencing bullying), but it would be a safe bet to count all those types as an ACE score of 5.

    • Mary, your points are well taken. I’ve known some adoptees who had difficulties about /from that, and so was On The Lookout. I “chose” to assume that loss of a parent qualifies as the same, since the adoptee did lose a parent, was abandoned by that parent. If there’s ever a study that lists all possible traumas and ranks them, it will be a miracle, b/c it seems like humans are incredibly creative at crummy stuff same as creative at good stuff. And even if your trauma isn’t listed on that list, it still counts. Because *you* count.

  82. 9 with a resilience of 8. I have no idea how on earth I survived. I have conquered alcoholism, and smoking. Never got into drug addiction, but was on anti-depressants for 17 years. Did get therapy in the mid 1990′s, which helped considerably. I wish I could have had therapy sooner. I still battle the flight, freeze or fight issue. My two younger brothers and sister are dead, though. All died at age 41-42, from COPD/alcoholism/morbid obesity/liver failure/heart failure…It may be that my grandmother having care and custody of me for my first two years gave me the resilience to survive where my younger siblings did not. It may be that having a different genetic father than they did made the difference, it may be a combination of those factors. Shoud Dr Felitti, Dr Williamson or Dr Anda wish to add my story to their research, I am willing.

    9 out of 10…holy wow.

    • I have found VERY useful guidance about navigating the fight, freeze, flight, flow continuum by reading Mark Brady’s wordpress blog: http://committedparent.wordpress.com/. He offers both “real people” examples AND the neurobiology behind what’s happening that assist me and people I work with (as friend, family and wellbeing-recovery-life coach client). You can search on topics to find something that resonates for you.
      ALSO, I hear many stories of grandparents being a source of resilience. How fortunate we are when wounded parents are able to – for whatever reason – offer that resource to their children and, my sense is, the child/ren they raise are a source of healing for the grandparent being able to parent again when they are older, hopefully wiser and less-ego involved. I wonder who has looked into that dynamic?
      All the best to you Sara and much appreciation for your un-frozen comment.

    • Sara, I’ve found wonderful guidance and “real life” examples of how to navigate the fight, freeze, flight, flow continuum from Mark Brady’s WordPress blog: The Committed Parent at http://committedparent.wordpress.com. You can search on topics to find something that speaks to you. Congratulations on your journey so far…

  83. I had a 2 and a resiliency number of 7. I did not have sexual abuse and believed I was loved thru most of my life but I still ended up as a drug addict at 17 and struggled with that and other addictions most of my life. I have now been sober for 16 years but I still wonder why I “went bad”. I can see that my resiliency helped me survive though. I left my country at 21 and was just back there to see my father through his death. I am very grateful that I was able to do that and that my family allowed me to be there for him but I also experienced why I left them all these years ago. All in all I have learned that I am now the expert to deal with my particular form of mental disease or insanity

    • There is a gene that gets passed to children from addictive parents. My mother’s Dad was an alcoholic. She was also a pill addict. Somewhere in your family is an addiction cycle.

      • There’s some very interesting research occurring in epigenetics, which indicates that genes, and groups of genes, are turned on and off. So, having a gene (or several) that may predispose a person to using alcohol or food or heroin or work to self-medicate may never be turned on if a child is raised in a healthy environment, and will be turned on in an unhealthy environment.

  84. ACE Score = 4, or possibly a 5 (there are stretches of time I don’t remember well). I’m a high-achiever who has crashed and burned (usually medically) every few years, most recently for 5.5 years. Depression/anxiety/BPD my whole life, 1 rape, domestic violence as child and adult, disabled by chronic pain, financial trouble, smoker, lots of drugs in my past, definite absenteeism, on-again off-again problems with drinking, interesting sexual life, etc. Jeez. Getting better now, though.

    • Funny, my brother was telling me I have a 6 year cycle before I have an accident or major problem. My ACE score is over 8, so the fight or flight response is very high. I took a pharmacy drug course on Coursera. Free classes for those who want to study the brain. When the adrenals are pumped and cortisol is high, you will be hyper-vigilant. There should be more understanding about the adrenal hormones.
      I did real estate full time and had a lot of stress. I would have over $10,000 a month net commissions for two months in a row, and then literally I could not get out of bed for the third month. We have to be kind to ourselves. we are not at the same happy level as everyone else. There is a chemical overload when you have physical and mental abuse. The mind becomes striated with the body, and the body acts remotely, like a robot to protect you.
      Sometimes, people want to drown in pills for PTSD. Why? Your psyche is very aware you are “wounded,” and is trying to preserve your self.

  85. ACE score-3
    Teen pregnancy, 2 rapes, domestic violence as child and adult, overweight, high cholesteral, heart problems, diabetes, chronic pain, financial trouble, depression, …very important study.

  86. Pingback: E-stranged

  87. Huh. I probably rate ~3, but not one single question on there is scoped outside the home environment. Such as being bullied every day at school for 8-10 years.

    • That’s true. It doesn’t mean it’s not an ACE, because it certainly is. The researchers began their work in the mid-1990s. They relied on a combination of what Kaiser members who had participated in a smaller research project had identified were significant traumas in their lives, as well as individual types of childhood trauma that had a solid body of research. The researchers acknowledge that there are many other types of trauma, including bullying, living in a violent neighborhood, witnessing siblings being abused, etc. One of the important points of the study is not so much the individual types of trauma, but that childhood trauma is common, that children suffer complex trauma, not just one type, and that the risk factor for chronic disease, mental illness and social problems increases as the types of trauma increase.

      • I’ve added a 1 to my score as I was severely bullied/abused by my only sibling. That gave me a 4. The kicker though is a resilience of 3. That explains my life long battle with mental illness and substance abuse. I must have built up resilience though because I still manage to have a outwardly normal looking existance.

  88. I came from a vey religious family, and both my Father and Mother’s family provided so much money to them, early in their lives, the family financial problems led to a lot of rage and violence. On top of which my father was a returning military Army vet from Korea.
    As my Mother got cancer and divorced my Father, she used abuse and religious guilt to keep the family intact. ANd to manipulate money out of everyone.
    There is a great book by Beverly Engle, “Divorcing Your Parent.” It is about renegotiating your relationship with them. Because dysfunctionate families do not have boundaries.
    I fund my Cortisol was high, and took a supplement that made the adrenal glands lower cortisol.
    I also realized in my sales profession that I was busy “saving” clients ” well beyond the professional vernacular of my duties because I had been manipulated and lacked a clear sense of self worth.
    At one point, I found a good book from Dr. Wilson called “Released From Shame.” She names her abuser in speeches, because he deserves it, and secrets can kill you. And expresses how
    to create healthy boundaries. From PTSD I like Dr Aphrodite Matsakos “I Cant Get Over It.”
    I bought this bok for a Tampa Bay psychologist who found 50% of his DUI clients were sexually or physically abused. This $25 book was standard reading.

  89. Thanks so much for this article and comments. I am only now (at 59) addressing my childhood trauma and as I sit here and read I feel myself getting so damn angry at it all! It has robbed me of so much potential, ambition & dreams cos I never felt I was enough or I didn’t deserve it cos I listened to the chit chat in my head that told me so cos that’s what it is isn’t it? You abandoned me at age 4 and I never understood why so it must have been something to do with me so it must be my fault and I am to blame! Isn’t that the truth?

    No it isn’t the truth and it never was. But no one ever bothered to sit me down, give me a hug, and tell me that fact. So I carried that sense of shame and guilt for the rest of my life..and I feel so angry about it all and at my carer/parent who could have protected me more but didn’t.

    Anyway…that’s how I feel…

    • I 100% understand Mick. I am 58 and my memories( just a few so far) came to me 51 years after the abuse. Mindblowing ….VERY angry …never understood why do I feel less than….The whole thing sucks, but when you begin to deal with it you can’t go back. You will heal.

    • I am so sorry for what you have gone through. I feel your pain and angr through your words. Makes me sad to know that many ppl go through such traumas and that it continues to hunt them through adulthood. I wish and hope that you find the peace that u so much need. I found this prayer specially helpful: Serenity. Give me serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Give me courage to change those that I can. Give me the wisdom to know the difference between them.

  90. I find this site helpful as it gives me insight into my habits (my ACE score was 8). At the age of 32 I still suffer from symptoms of past abuse, but it has made me stronger, more self aware, empathetic and creative. Humans have been through a lot throughout history, so I believe we are much more resilient than we think we are. I went from being a morbidly obese, poor, white trash drop out to going to graduate school at DePaul in Chicago and starting my own freelance makeup/hair business where upper middle class women come to me for beauty advice. I’m health conscious, have a loving husband of 12 years and a fat, rosey cheeked one year old. I have smashed the cycle of abuse in our family. My parents have already died, they too had high ACE scores. I forgive those who have hurt me and I go on with my life because life is short, besides anger only hurts me. I don’t have time for fear so I regularly face it. I don’t have time for toxic people, so set boundaries or eliminate them altogether. I try not to save others as two baby birds can’t feed each other. I do what I love so I can build self-efficacy. I workout instead of taking an SSRI. Currently working on being present, living simply, thinking simply and building a strong support network. Lastly I keep an open mind and despite not being religious the Tao Te Ching book really helped me. I wish all of you peace and love.

    • You’ve come such a long way, Sidra Luna. Congratulations on all your hard work and successes! That fat, rosy-cheeked one-year-old has a terrific mom and will grow to be a health, happy adult.

  91. My ACE score was 9 and my resilience score was 3. From what I’m reading here, I should no longer by alive.
    I’m 47 now and have pretty much been estranged from my bio “family”, as anyone who wasnt abusive has abandoned or passed on.
    At best count, I had been in 52 homes by the age of 7. At that point I was taken from my gypsy mother and her string of men and returned to my bio father. He was an angry man and very I’ll equipped to raise a child on any level. At times he was loving but that wasn’t long lived and his ridiculously hot temper would explode back onto the scene.
    My mother never called, wrote or checked on me. At times I would be sent in the summers to have a custodial visit. She was mostly absent during these and I was left to watch my younger siblings while she partied.
    One time I was left in the airport half a day, until 1 am because her boyfriend hated me and refused to let her pick me up. When they finally showed up, I heard about how much he hated me all the way back to their house.
    She was beaten regularly in front of us when they were there, so we preferred when they would leave for days on end.
    Long story short, I distanced myself from both parents by age 16.
    I speak to one on occasion, but the hope of ever having loving parents has long since died. The entire extended family are angry, resentful individuals who have no sense of what a family should be.
    I have 6 beautiful kids and 5 grandkids, who are my world. I have struggled a bit on adult relationships, as my trust level was non existent. If anything, I built my life around my children and I don’t regret it. They are my family I never had. I shielded them from my bio mess, to protect them and to protect me.
    Resilience. It’s a beautiful thing.

    • Resilience is indeed a beautiful thing, Valorieness, and kudos to you for removing yourself from abuse when you were able, and for not passing it on to your children. It takes a LOT of strength to do that.

  92. My father’s mother believed that a baby and young child should never picked up and comforted when crying, because it might “spoil” it. According to my analysis, this caused an intense development of his amygdala, a.k.a. the reptilian brain. He was a real competitor but lead a life devoid of the “higher” satisfactions that allow us to be fully human. Hyper-criticality was his thing. Fortunately for me, he was preoccupied with “making his place” in the world, so he was rarely around. Rarely he “pretended” to be interested in me, but I could see through it. Whenever he had the chance, he would crush out any special opportunities that came my way, if he knew about them. Fortunately, my mother, and other neighbors and relatives took up the slack, and he hid his abusive side, embellishing an image that ours was “the perfect family”. A lot of people believed it, too!

    Unfortunately, my sister, 4 years older, somehow ended up being cared for by the same borderline grandmother, because of the disruption most families went through during WWII years. She also developed the amygdaloidal personality, with such intensity that her sibling rivalry with me eventually grew to the point I was concerned that she would have preferred that I would die.

    I mentioned my family because now that I’ve made it to age 71, I marvel now more than ever at my resilience. This is not the result of will power or conscious technique. I just back off and let the healing take over from within. I had hoped the above tests might bring new insights to me, but maybe my cognitive style is too far along to fit into most approaches. I’ll admit that I’ve been hung up on Abram Maslow’s psychology of self-actualization. I guess Maslow’s inspiration was a guiding light much as Jesus has shown the way to so many believers. In fact, I consider Jesus to be one of the earliest examples of a self-actualizing person. I’ll admit I’m disappointed to be living in a post-self-actualization era. Maslow isn’t even taught in schools anymore, apparently. I believe that if he were still living, he would recognize and support my self-actualizing lifestyle.

    Okay, my sister still doesn’t relate positively to me, but we “pretend” like all is well. Actually it breaks my heart that something about her mental functions has closed off so many realms of the ideal world that I find myself led back to after some setback or other.

    • Hello, you mentioned the amygdaloidal personality. I looked it up, and all I could find was mentions of lava and a rock band, (ahh, the always resourceful internet!)

      Do you have any more information on it, or know where I can find some? There have been many things in the comments that have rang familiar, but this one stuck out, and I’d like to know more about it. Any info you can provide would be appreciated, thanks!

    • What you’re talking about with your father and your sister sounds like it could be narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). If you’re not already familiar with it, I would look into it. There’s a great book that talks about NPD and gives you tips for dealing with relationships with NPD people, called The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists.

  93. I think one major factor that has been overlooked is what Alice Miller referred to as presence of an enlightened witness. If there is one person who is on your side, who sees who you are and what you’re going through and cares, it makes a tremendous difference. Then at least you know this isn’t the way it’s *supposed* to be – that you are being mistreated and you don’t deserve it. There was none for me, sadly.

  94. I scored a 6 on the ACE test and have been steadily healing old pain from neglect/trauma over the last 14 years. I have found a lot of helpful healing information over the years and wanted to share with people on this website. I have a group on Facebook called Passionate Heart, Neutral Mind if you like the information and want more.

    The first one (The Presence Process by Michael Brown) requires doing connected breathing (no pause between in and out breath) for at least 15 minutes, at least twice a day. longer sessions and more often are probably even better. It has definitely accelerated my healing process.

    The second one is from the The Journey: A Practical Guide to Healing Your Life and Setting Yourself Free Paperback by Brandon Bays but I simplified it. When you are having an intense emotion, feel the emotion and any associated physical sensations as fully as you can without going into story as to why you having that emotion. Going into story feeds the emotional body. Be curious. What is underneath that emotion? You may notice that after a while you are feeling a different emotion, feel that and any physical sensations fully, What is underneath that emotion? keep going until you feel more peaceful and an expanded awareness–the source of who you really are.

    EFT (emotional freedom technique) also has helped when I have intense emotions. And watching emotional, tear-jerker movies have helped as well.

    Best Books I’ve Come Across about Life (Ego, Healing old Pain, etc.):

    1. The Presence Process – Michael Brown
    2. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha – Tara Brach
    3. The Untethered Soul – Michael Singer
    4. A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle
    5. Radical Happiness – Gina Lake
    6. Radical Forgiveness – Colin Tipping
    7. Conscious Living – Gay Hendricks
    8.A Conscious Life – Cultivating the Seven Qualities of Authentic Adulthood
    9. A Return to Love – Marianne Williamson

    A Document I put together with some iimportant life information: http://docs.com/X6HI

    • Thanks for this, Chuck. I’m sure many people will find the information useful. Your description of sitting with an intense emotion is also echoed in Pema Chödrön’s writings, which I’ve also found helpful.

  95. My ACE score is four or five. My situation gets worse, not better, with age. I have chronic insomnia and at least a half dozen chronic health problems. I got melanoma this year and unfortunately it did not kill me.
    I am 59 and have no hope of my life ever getting better. I’m certain I have complex PTSD from years of experiencing, as a child, physical and emotional abuse from my father, including watching him hit my mother for years.
    I doubt I will live to see 70, and I’m glad of it. Decades of insomnia have obliterated my quality of life. Even after therapy and medication I still suffer. Anyone is naive to think someone like me can ever lead a normal live. I am just living out my days waiting to die. I don’t blame anyone or feel like a victim most of the time. It’s just the way it is. I have no idea what it’s like to be normal and to be able to function at a high capacity because i am hyper vigilant and pretty much terrified by any action that requires fortitude. Some things are worse then death: my sick life is one of them.
    There is no “cure” for complex PTSD, so please don’t give people false hope that there is.

    • Frank, it broke my heart to read your message. Please don’t give up on yourself! My ACE score was over 10 and my childhood and more than half of my adult life was spent dealing with my sick parents and family. I am 57 years old and finally got the courage a few years ago to confront the people who did so much damage. Nothing is perfect, they didn’t accept any responsibility, my oldest brother who molested me for 10 years said he didn’t have any “memory” of it so it didn’t happen and then told anyone who would listen that I was crazy and on drugs. Neither is true. But it’s not about them anymore Frank, it’s about YOU. No matter how much you want to die or believe that you can’t be helped, please please please keep trying! You are God’s creation and perfect in his eyes. I’m not trying to be religious or preach but whatever you want to call it, God, Universe, Spirit, we are creations of beauty and love. Please don’t let whoever did this to you win by watching you struggle with life and wanting to die! I’ve lived with chronic disease since I was 19. I’ve been on chemo for 12 years. I won’t lie, there have been times when I wish I could give up but there is something inside all of us that knows deep down we are meant to live and embrace our lessons in this life. Don’t hide your gift that actually might help someone else. Tell people who you are and how you are working on making it better. You never know who you might touch and heal just by sharing your feelings and thoughts. My heart goes out to you and I hope you realize that there are people who understand how you feel who have been through similar experiences. And all of us at one time or another wanted to give up. But you can succeed, just the fact that you wrote on this blog means you want to feel better. You are not broken beyond repair! It won’t happen over night and the memories will never completely go away, it’s how we think about them that will change. I don’t always forgive what was done to me, I don’t have to, it was UNFORGIVEABLE. But I can nurture myself the way I should have been nurtured and fill my life with people who are good and lift me up. Get rid of the takers and fakers and treat yourself like you want others to treat you. And be a giver, Frank. Give your knowledge and your time to others who have had a hard time. Please rethink the wanting to die, you have too much to live for!

  96. Pingback: Estranged? What Is Your ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Score | E-stranged

  97. Pingback: Why We Start With Ourselves | E-stranged

  98. I got a 7 on the ACE and a 12 on the second one, but the two questions the second one did not ask concerned whether or not one received mental health counseling and had/have pets. I did receive counseling, but not until after my parents’ divorce (which I was happy about, because it got me away from the abuser) when I was 14 y.o. While my mother’s family was/is (some are dead, some are still living) devout Evangelicals, I knew they still loved me, despite their views on divorce. However, once they found out what my bio-father was doing to me, they granted my mother to divorce him and get me away from him. So on one level I had a lot of love, but not a lot of understanding, until my mother admitted what was happening. Even then there wasn’t complete understanding, because I wasn’t allowed to sent him to jail, due to my mother’s family’s religious beliefs, which also angered me, but even so, with therapy and the fact I knew I had people who loved me, as well as pets who comforted me after high traumatic incidents, I think I came out of it better then the 7 lets on, esp with my pets comforting me. I still have pets and feel, no I believe/know that they do help with one’s mental health, even if for nothing more than to [add more] comfort and love for you. They can even be good listeners, without understanding your words, esp when there is no one else around to listen to you rant, cry, vent or what have you about something that’s stresses you. Sometimes, esp when I was a child, my pets knew what was wrong, why I was crying, because they saw and animals are not stupid. My pets were often the first “people” to come to my aid and comfort me, esp when my mother wasn’t around at the time. There have also been studies that show that pets contribute greatly to better mental and physical health. They are, IMO, wonderful counselors when there isn’t anyone else around at the time. I think my pets helped me a great deal in surviving the emotional, verbal, mental, physical, and sexual abuse my bio-father did to me. There was one time my little chihuahua attempted to protect me again him, unsuccessfully, but he still tried, because he loved me, just as my mother did/does and my grandparents did. I think I would have lost my mind if not for my pets. So I really think the second questionnaire omits a major resilience factor by not inquiring about pets, esp with so many studies showing how pets help us in so many ways, including with physical and mental health.

    • Mriana: Like the ACE Study questions, the resilience questions certainly leave out some obvious factors. Pets are definitely one of them. I’m glad that yours have helped you so much.
      Cheers, Jane

      • I am glad to, because I don’t think I would be the person I am today if not for them and I still have pets to this day, because I believe they helped me a lot as a child growing up under the conditions I did and that we help each other today.

    • Mriana,
      excellent point! Pets are wonderful, soothing, loving companions, and mine help my resilience, as well. I am 9 on ACE, and 9 on the resilience scale.

      Alcoholic, militant, verbally and physically abusive narcissistic dad, I was close to mom, but she was there, for much of dad’s abusive behavior, so she had some responsibility, for the family problems. Dad passed when I was 11, accidental death, oldest brother, killed in Vietnam War, when I was 8, (dad forced him to enlist, he had escaped the draft.)

      Next oldest brother, 8 years older than me, molested me, and my younger sister, for 10 years, longer for my younger sister, since it started earlier, and stopped later, for her. That brother was certified as narcissistic, by two shrinks he went to, with his now ex-wife. Narcissistic, probably psychopathic older sister, ripped me off, when my mom passed, and ostracized me from other siblings, when my mom died.

      Younger sister is a raging alcoholic, with borderline personality disorder, was close to her, at one time, but she jumped on the older sister’s band wagon, despite the fact that they were arch enemies, for at least 10 years. One other brother, who is best friends, with older sister, as she successfully hides her true self, from that brother.

      I was favored, subtly, by my mom, as I was born after a child she lost, and was a healthy, wanted girl. Growing up, I was close to my mom, and she really only favored me, over others, since I was most attentive, and sweet hearted, of her surviving brood. Older sister was mean, younger was bratty and bossy. People who helped to care for my mom, before she passed, told me it was obvious to them, that my mom favored me, but thought it was for the same reasons, that I mention, above. She did favor the molester brother, too, and I kept his secret, for FAR FAR too long, due to that.

      So, I am ostracized. I refused to keep the family secrets, and to hail to the chief, (the older sister.) Saved my mom from her, over much strife, when I got my mom medical help, for pneumonia, which she was dying from, and older sis was refusing care for. My mom, thankfully lived another year, after my sister almost let her die, prematurely.

      Have suffered generalized anxiety disorder and depression, since I can remember, pretty much. It took me over 2 years to start to heal, since the ostracism. Actually so happy NOT to have any of those people in my life, anymore. I have spent about 5 years in therapy. Xanax has probably saved my life, (under a doctor’s supervision and care.)

      Hyper-vigilance caused me to only sleep 3 to 5 hours per night, for decades, last number of years, I’ve learned to sleep better, but usually can’t sleep for more than 6 hours, at a stretch. I learned that I have HSP traits, which helped me to feel more understood, finally, in my very stressful, and overwhelming life.

      I have worked very hard, just to get to center. I spent most of my adult life, recovering from my childhood. So many years that I could have been building a solid career, were spent healing my wounded child-self.

      Classically, married someone with similar baggage, spent half of my life with him, by the time we split. Divorced, for 8 years, and only now, starting to feel like an adult, who can make my way, in the world, at age 53. Since I did a lot of healing, before my son was born, I am a pretty good mom. He is 15, now, and I am so proud of the person that he is becoming.

      He knows I have suffered trauma, but not about the sexual abuse. I don’t want to traumatize him, with the knowledge, at his age, but when he is 18 or 21, I will be honest, about the nature of the trauma I have overcome. Obviously, he knows about my having been ostracized, which in essence, extends to him, as well.

      I take it a day at a time. My mom is the reason that I didn’t commit suicide, all her years, then, my son, of course is the reason, now. I have a pact with myself, that I can never do that. I am working to build my own reasons, why I would never do it, so that I take full responsibility, for my life. It hurt so much, to learn of Robin Williams’ suicide, as his pain struck a chord, in me. It both helped me to vow more strongly, to myself, that I can never make that choice, and to acknowledge, that I remain at risk, in spite of my pact with myself. Depression and terrible anxiety are very high risk mental states, for suicidal ideation and actions.

      It is my objective, to make the latter part of my life happier, and more financially productive. I count my blessings, and know that life is good, even though it has been so painful, and is painful, for so many.

      I am learning to take better care of myself. I ironically fear early death, due to all the trauma, and want to make the most of the time I have left, on this earth. I have wonderful friends, whom I have known since my youth, and those I have met, over my life. Close friends, who know my history and accept me unconditionally, I am so thankful, for them and for my son. And, yes, my cats are very important to my mental health, and wellbeing, too!

      To all you other survivors and tellers of your stories, thank you, for sharing, and helping the rest of us to know, that we are not alone.

      Resilience, the counter to ACEs, yes. This puts a new light on the strength, that what we endure, may instill, within us. Appreciate what I have learned here, today. Thank you.

      • Thank you for sharing your remarkable story, sarahd. It sounds as if your mother and your friends were where you found your resilience, and they provided that very strong love and attachment so necessary for us humans to survive, and eventually, thrive.

  99. Pingback: Substance Abuse or Survival? | "Don't Try This at Home"

  100. A pretty depressing article actually. Like “child suffers trauma, they’re absolutely stuffed for life” – I am an adult with an ACE score of 7. and what of the Resilience score, (6) does that mean my ACE score goes down to 1? like it evens it out or? Guess it’s up to me to work through the past traumas in some way, accept them, see them as blessings, appreciate them for the growth opportunities (this article wouldn’t suggest there ARE any) they contain and get on with my life. But yes, it would be much more useful an article, not just speaking on my own behalf but if there was some pointers in the right direction for people who have gone through the traumas to do something with this information. It’s just left me with a sense of utter despair. Luckily (or crazily?) I’m optimistic and believe that what I think I create, and am quite health conscious. Even still this article pretty much states “I’ve got no chance” and that I’m pretty much guaranteed to suffer one or more of these illnesses in later life.

    A good scare tactic for parents I guess, and the little sentence about brains being plastic brings a glimmer of hope but that is all. Anyhow, that’s my tuppence.

    • Thanks for your comment. The ACE and resilience questionnaires help to add understanding to the ways you coped with your childhood adversity and to identify resilience factors. The ACE Study can indeed be depressing, but it provides information about increased risk, not a death sentence. For more about resilience factors, keep an eye on other stories on ACEsTooHigh that examine how communities and organizations are instituting trauma-informed and resilience-building practices. You can also check out ResilienceTrumpsACEs.org, a site put together for the community of Walla Walla, WA, but much of the information on there is useful for anyone.

  101. I live in Sydney, Australia. In this country, the complex trauma that can stem from child abuse is not recognised. The adult survivors of such abuse, of which I am one, with an ACE score of 8, must fit a DSM-5 diagnostic criteria to be treated (almost always, by psychotropics) for that mental illness and in all instances, the impact of that abuse is nullified. Thus we have hundreds of thousands of people with high ACE scores who are either not able to get the sort of treatment that would facilitate their recovery or who receive no treatment at all. Our prisons, streets, shelters and psychiatric hospitals are crowded with the adult survivors of child abuse while our governments and the health services they fund continue to deny the reality that a child abused often becomes the adult with a lifetime of suffering. I conjecture that the primary reason why Australia is so staunchly opposed to properly supporting the adult survivors of child abuse is that unlike mental illness, the aetiology of child abuse trauma lies with the wanton or negligent acts of others (parents, peers, teachers, etc).

  102. Pingback: Want your ACE score? Now there’s an app for that! « ACEs Too High

  103. I think it is too bad that you don’t include the families in general more. Not only was my father abusive ALL his life, but his family perpetuates it – hiding and enabling the abuse and trying to manipulate, control and further abuse the victim if anyone dares to speak out or act out to any degree. Even people outside the family are rewarded for participating with the abuser and supporting the “image” the family wishes to maintain. The abused get no validation or consideration – you are a threat to the “image” the family wishes to maintain because you might mention your abuse – it’s all about control.

  104. Why does it only consider male abuse of women? My mother had a mental illness that the family hid and she could be violent towards us all and would humiliate me in public.. even at 60,I am particularly fearful of other women!

    • Thank you for your comment, Wendy. You bring up a good point.
      The ACE Study measured only 10 types of adverse childhood experiences. Of course, there are more. The researchers chose those 10 based on a pilot study of patients who had identified those 10 as most frequent, and the prevalence of research on individual types of childhood trauma.
      If your mother was violent toward you, that might be an ACE score of 2, if it included physical and emotional abuse. If she was violent toward your father and your siblings, that would likely count as additional adverse childhood experiences in your history.
      What’s important to know about the ACE Study is that adverse childhood experiences are very common, and as the number of types of trauma increases, so do the risk factors for chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence, among many other consequences.
      There are some ACE surveys that are adding more types of trauma, as is indicated by a particular population of people being studied. For example, if people in an urban environment live in neighborhoods with a lot of violence that occurs in the street, then witnessing a shooting or stabbing of someone who’s not in your family would certainly be traumatic.

  105. Thank you Allen . your reply means so very much to me , I am seeing both of these Dr.s tomorrow. I want to think they do care, and I am going to ask about medicine changes this up and down stuff I am going through is worse , than just trying to handle this life on my own , I am very limited to drs. that are in my area. I just dont understand what they are trying to do for me , why not just get to the point of all of this treatment so I at least [ feel] some progress. or the point of all of this

    • Thank you, Lorri…

      BLISS offers good counsel. Reading and studying about what you’re experiencing can add immeasurably to your understanding of what’s happening, and potentially open up new insights that will help you grow and heal.

      I think you may have touched on something close to the core of your concern, when you write about what they are doing “for me.” Healing the injuries of the past doesn’t happen quickly, and it really is about your entire lifetime. Let me give you a personal example.

      Almost twenty years ago, when I was going through a particularly bad patch, I was working with a counsellor when I had what you might call an “epiphany.” (I had earlier sessions with other counsellors to deal with PTSD, depression, and risk taking behaviors, so “re-upping” for refresher sessions was something that I looked forward to…) As we were talking during one session, I had the stark realization that what I was experiencing at that moment had roots that lay some twenty years earlier!

      “Back in the day,” shortly after I’d left the USAF, I had been presented with three life and career altering opportunities. One way pointed in a literary and cultural direction, another towards a career in government, and a third to taking a job in a communications center. The first two jobs payed barely minimum wage, and the last was a full third above the other two. Because of what I can see now as ACE-driven behaviors and family expectations, I took the job that offered the most money, and unlike the man in Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” took the well-travelled road, although it, too, made all the difference.

      Of course hindsight is always perfect, but I think if I’d not had those subsequent tune-up sessions, I might never have realized the full (and life changing) nature of those decisions in 1968. Although the lesson came too late for me to undo the squandered 20 years, it has become part of my emotional tool-kit and has helped me make thoughtful, and hopefully wiser decisions today.

      So I’d suggest you continue to give yourself time to heal. You’re on medications, so use them, by all means, but pay attention to their effects. Do they make you feel better or worse? Have you noted physical or emotional changes that worry you? Not all medications are right for every person, so if something doesn’t feel quite right, talk to your doctor about changing them in ways that will be beneficial to you. As for “talk therapy,” please continue to work with your counsellor, but, again, if s/he isn’t working out, get another one! You might look around for other supportive groups like “ACEs Too High?”, and search online for publications, chat rooms, and meetings in communities near you.

      Above everything else, remember that you are a child of the Universe that did not deserve to be abused and injured; and that you have survived and continue to fight on! That makes you a powerful woman who should be respected. Live with that in mind and one day, perhaps, you’ll have your own “epiphany” and see that you are what you’d hope to become!

      Warm regards,

      Allen

  106. thank you for reply, yes I am seeing both , talk and meds, still crying to much , want to stay by myself , and he did say, i am too sensitive. I was asking for [help what is wrong with me I want a diagnosis we have been at this for 11 months finally told me aces,said I should look at it on line , told me it will take another 2 yrs, to cure me told him I took resilience test me ,said he was glad i did that, Something isnt right ? the meds seem work for alittle while ,but it doesnt last , somethings are worse, it was like [ automatic this type of meds, will work , ] we have got this, and I am like hey , I dont even know what to say to these dr.s I am just so tried of everything ,,

    • Lorri, Check out the work of Brene’ Brown, PhD about vulnerability shame, grief, awareness, acceptance, and practices to move to well being. I’ve been following her work for a while and this may be useful. She has several books and cds. I like to listen and get these at my local library. In the past month she has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday so you should be able to access her online. She also has at least 2 videos on TedTalks – google them.
      Healing and self-care with the support of others is the most important thing we do and first it’s necessary that we really get that we will benefit from a shift and be willing to act on that. Hooray! for you already being there! Finding our way through what looks like darkness is a challenge and can be a joy as we discovery the light available to us! Thank you for writing!

  107. Pingback: 10 is greater than 8 | Made of Moxie

  108. thank you Rebecka, I have been waiting for reply , what should I ask dr. about this too sensitive thing, i am so emotional, I am not a ‘puddle ‘ anymore as the dr.’s call it , I dont cry as often but hearing of abuse to animals , songs , my vehicles breaking down, it is very hard most days , again your time means a lot to me

  109. Pingback: Children with parents in prison: one ACE* and counting « ACEs Too High

  110. Pingback: There’s no such thing as a bad kid in these six Spokane, WA, trauma-informed elementary schools • Social Justice Solutions

  111. Pingback: There’s no such thing as a bad kid in these six Spokane, WA, trauma-informed elementary schools « ACEs Too High

  112. Pingback: Reduce ACEs by dismantling the “prison industrial complex” « ACEs Too High

  113. ….and there’s more….the ACE score doesn’t include BIRTH TRAUMA……and the way mothers and infants are handled at birth!! Most all of us born institutionally and mothers babies (yes and fathers) traumatized at birth

    • I dont know about all of this i been in treatment for a yr. now and was told i have aces, score of 7 and now just took this test scored a way to many 5.6 . good god , doc, says i’m too sensitive, I cry all the time , this just sucks, i dont know how to fix this ,

      • Lorri, don’t believe it when someone tells you you’re too sensitive. You are exactly the way you ought to be…and you would have been less sensitive if you had been treated well as a child. I was always told by my mother that I was too sensitive, never mind she was screaming and raging at me all the time! Now I’m a therapist and help other people–and they help me appreciate my sensitivity! I’m 60 now, and sometimes I still feel broken. Don’t give up–I haven’t!

      • You say the ‘doc’ tells you you’re too sensitive. Are you seeing a psychiatrist for meds or some sort of psychotherapist for talk therapy or both? Part of a talk therapist’s job is to help you work with overwhelming emotions, not to put you down for them. If he or she is saying you’re sensitive, that’s one thing. Sensitivity (even deep sensitivity) can be an amazing strength. If he or she is saying you’re “too sensitive”, it can be triggering to you and is certainly not helpful. Maybe find a more supportive therapist?

      • Lorri…

        A couple of thoughts. Working with a psychiatrist or psychologist/therapist doesn’t mean s/he will “cure” you of your issues. Rather, a competent counsellor will help show you ways to integrate and accept your history and make the personal changes that will allow you to take back your life. You’re the person who’s in charge of healing and cures, the others are advisors!

        Secondly, as others have pointed out, I think you should clarify with your caregiver AND with yourself what s/he said about being “sensitive.” Sometimes what we hear from someone that we’ve allowed to hold a position of “authority” over us comes back as confirming or self-fulfilling prophecies. Because ACE traumas can so quickly take over our lives and undermine our self-confidence, we can become “habituated” to hearing only bad news and of not understanding what might have been encouragement or new information to help us with our search.

        On the other hand, of course, if your counsellor did come off as judgmental, dismissive, or rude, you probably should re-evaluate your relationship with him/her. What’s important to remember is that as an educated “consumer” of mental (and physical) health services, you have an absolute say in firing the person who is not meeting your needs. If you’re being poorly or improperly treated, walk away. It may be a critical first (or early) step in treating yourself as a person to be respected. (You have already made an enormous step in seeking out professional counselling!) As for having fears that this provider has such an exalted status that s/he may try to punish you in some way with the community or other care providers, that’s not only unethical, it’s illegal. You can file claims and protests with your city, state, or other licensing bodies; and as an ultimate act of liberation, sue that person!

        Finally, I think we’re all list makers, and something like the ACE and Resiliency scores can get in our way. It may be helpful for you to see these numbers as “indicators” of your psychological and emotional state – past, present, or future. Doing this may also help you gain a fresh perspective about yourself AND the damnable history that far too many of us share.

        Good luck with your journey, and remember to treat yourself with the love and respect you expect from others…

        Allen

  114. My background paints a very bleak picture. My ACE is a 6 but my resilience score is only 4. Sometimes I feel myself being sucked in and I wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but everything is just so dim.

    • Esme — Keep going. You can create resilience factors in your life now. It’s a challenge, but doable. And after you’ve incorporated them, it does get brighter.

    • Esme, I totally agree with Jestevens. I used to long for death to come take me, but not more! You must believe and then take action to change. Little steady steps are the best….and celebrate each one! It is indeed a challenge – but anything worthwhile always is, as “they” say. Even though I was making changes, it took a long time before I saw the glimmer of light at the end of my tunnel. Fact is, it is right there now! You just need to keep honing your resilience factors and one day you will be able to see it, too!

    • My ACE score is 10 and resiliency is 14. We are all free to choose how we wish to live. In my case, it is not as a victim, it is to love life and be the best mother, friend, teacher and worker I can be. I am a rape survivor (age 21) and have suffered multiple traumas beyond those childhood ones listed.

  115. For me, the results are so sad in a poignant, eye-opening way. My husband, who had a loving, supportive, extended family after his mother left him and his father when he was 6 years old scored a one. I, on the other hand, growing up in a two parent, mom home, dad working, church every Sunday family scored a 7. You see, that large, Catholic family was wrought with physical abuse, mental illness, drug abuse, sexual abuse and plain old everyday neglect behind the tightly close doors.

    A perfect example of the paradox of denial: But they illustrate the perfect family do they not? They certainly can’t be unhealthier than that divorced family can they?

    So please note another burden we who “survived” the 4 plus family upbringing struggle with: Nothing we know for fact is believed by the outsiders as we battled, often alone, to make sense of the ugliness we were mired in…..

    And I wonder why the overwhelming darkness of depression presents itself on regular basis like a fog, reminding me that as hard as I try to live my life as a Normal, the damage done to me as a child is impossible to fix……all I can do now is beat it back into it’s hole and cover it up with a smile and a plateful of fresh baked cookies…….

    • Merry: I very rarely ever comment on articles, but your comment really made me want to say something. Bottling it up is not the only thing you can do, you can never change the things that happened to you in the past, but you can change the way they affect you. I’m sorry you’re feeling depressed and like you can’t “fix” yourself, but try to get away from the mindset that you NEED to be fixed.
      Horrible things happen to children. Some grow up seemingly unfazed, and some are “scarred for life” but this isn’t the way it needs to be. If your parents neglected and abused you, they probably didn’t teach you how much you’re worth, or how to handle your feelings of depression. But it’s not too late to learn this on your own. Discover yourself again, fall in love with yourself, this is the only way to be happy. And counseling or even writing a journal is a great way to do that.
      I was brought up in a broken family. My mother raised me basically as a single mother. My father was an abusive alcoholic drug user, and it eventually killed him when I was 13. My mother had my “half” sister (I say this because as far as I’m concerned we are no less sisters than two girls born of the same parents, I love her with all my heart and we are very close) anyway, my mom had her 11 years before me. My mom had dated MY father while my sister was little, and my sister actually got the brunt of the abuse by my father, more so than myself.
      Most time I did spend with my father he was physically and emotionally abusive. I was afraid of him, and I decided to stop seeing him at the young age of 10. If it weren’t for my mother, my “resilience score”, I would probably be in your shoes with the depression as well.
      I’m so sorry that you didn’t have anyone to turn to, but you do now. You have your husband, friends I’m sure, and counseling is always a good option. My point is, you aren’t alone, and you can “fix” yourself. Don’t give up hope!

    • Merry you can help others and you can believe you are worthwhile, precious and wonderful. Because you are! We can all choose life and love. Sure it hurts. I know so more than many people. But it hurts worse to not feel, not love, and not keep striving every day.

      Look at your name. It means something.

  116. Pingback: At Cherokee Point Elementary, kids don’t conform to school; school conforms to kids • Social Justice SolutionsSocial Justice Solutions

  117. Pingback: At Cherokee Point, Kids Don’t Conform to School; School Conforms to Kids | Speak City Heights

  118. Pingback: Adverse Childhood Experiences = Aces too High | Healing Through Community

  119. This stuff is fascinating – I feel really lucky – my ACE score is only 4 and my resilience score is 11. I have none of the health problems associated with higher scores. I feel like I escaped and got out. Great work!

  120. Pingback: At Cherokee Point Elementary, kids don’t conform to school; school conforms to kids « ACEs Too High

  121. Hello. I was referred to this site by my cbt therapist. Lots of great information, here…I was sort of taken aback at my low score (a 5). I was sexually abused by various people growing up including intercourse w/my dad; my mom was/is paranoid schizophrenic so I had a pretty tumultuous time all around. My main problems as an adult are mainly relational (social awkwardness, male/female relations) and financial, and I see from your studies these are very common among folks like me. I’ve had over 30 jobs…getting work is no problem, as I can charm my way into just about anything I want, but making it last over 3 months is something I’ve never been able to do; even with my hard won MA. A mystery I ponder DAILY! I am intelligent, articulate, very creative, pretty, physically fit and healthy, yet I’m always only about a step away from homelessness due to chronic indigence. My memory is bad and getting worse…I was very skilled as a kid at forgetting…now it’s become an ingrained habit and I can’t retain anything anymore. I’m really scared. I always just believed others, thinking I was lazy or the like, now I know (at age 42) that’s not true. I’ve patented a product, gotten freelance articles published in major mags, started a couple businesses (that both tanked). My main frustration is experiencing the wonderful, endless wellspring of new ideas and huge potential inside with no way to let it out fully. I fear, as I once heard someone else say, “dying with my song still inside me.”

    • I think many of us who have experienced a heavy load of ACEs fear dying with our songs inside us, Karyn. I don’t think that 5 is a low score. A score of 5 substantially increases the risk for a multitude of issues, including what you’re going through. You’re not lazy. You’re not lazy. It’s just way more difficult for you to do what people without your background do without struggling with the tentacles of the past that grasp and pull at you every single day. I don’t know that those tentacles ever stop pulling, but I do think that if you keep at it, they lose their substantial strength. Your awareness of how your childhood affects your life now is fabulous, in that being able to put words to it and understand it is a major hurdle to cross on the road to balance and happiness. Keep plugging away. It gets better.

  122. I have a high score 9 I have two boys with issues and this helps me to understand how this is passed on. I have a larger perspective now and it gives me a better way to know my life. Thank you. I did some prevention groups with children, education of the mentally ill and families to help these issues but it wasn’t enough. Appreciate this knowledge for my understanding family and adult sons. I was an Art Therapist nurse and many other things and am 72 so I will share with those around me.

  123. I was moderately physically abused by my younger sister (2.5 yr difference) when we were kids. My sister was explosive – she’d throw anything, routinely threatened me with scissors, attacked me with her fists and legs, had loud and violent tantrums that lasted at least an hour, and was unpredictable (though she was an angel at school). My dad didn’t get home till at least 8pm and my stay-at-home mom had no idea as to how to handle her little terror. When I was 12, my mom went back to work and I was left alone with my sister regularly. Even though I was older than her, I felt helpless to fight back too often because I was afraid that I’d seriously hurt her. I know this was an ACE for me, but is it for the questionnaire? I have an ACE score of 2 without considering this aspect of my childhood.

    • Although it’s not part of the ACE Study, if this was the source of chronic and severe stress in your childhood, it likely had a deleterious effect on you. There are many more sources of toxic stress than those listed in the ACE Study; it’s just that those 10 were most often mentioned by a pilot group and there was a lot of research about the effects of those ACEs. Other types of toxic stress that come to mind: witnessing violence outside the home, living in a violent neighborhood, experiencing a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado), living in a war zone, losing a sibling, etc.

  124. Pingback: Adverse childhood experiences | Free psychology

  125. Question 7: Was your mother or stepmother: Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?

    Why does it not read “Was either of your parents/guardians/caretakers: [...]”

    Is it not traumatic if a woman hits a man? If a child sees the woman of the house abusing the man of the house?

    • Of course, it’s traumatic if a woman hits a man, or if a man hits a man or a woman hits a woman, Joseph.

      It just happens that the ACE Study chose that one and nine other childhood adversities to measure because of two main reasons: abuse of a mother was what people in the pilot group had reported was common, and previous studies had already ascertained the negative consequences on the children of abused mothers.

      There are many other types of trauma that affect children just as much — witnessing violence in their neighborhoods, loss of a sibling, natural disaster, being bullies, homelessness, moving often, etc. And subsequent ACE surveys are including some of those questions.

      Rather than the individual types of childhood adversity, the ACE Study is more about how common they are, about their long-term health and social consequences of childhood adversity, and about how the risk factors for these consequences increase as the ACEs experienced increase.

    • Joseph,

      You’re point is a very valid one, and I can also tell you that as the ACES survey is updated, one of the things that is being addressed is this exact bias. Q 7 here was taken directly from the original ACES Questionnaire. At the time, the survey focused on the 10 most prevalent forms of abuse and trauma that were known about at the time (1997).

      MaleSurvivor, and a number of other organizations that advocate for male survivors of trauma have been communicating with the study’s creators and I believe that this issue will be addressed moving forward.

  126. Pingback: The Growing Interest In ACEs And Trauma-Informed Practices • Social Justice Solutions

  127. While I score 0 on family-only related issues, the ACE questions seem to steer away from institutional abuse, i.e., religious, medical, educational.

    A child often spends the majority of his waking hours, not with family, but at school or church (at least in my childhood,) examples being:

    1. Religious genital mutilation as a newborn infant (how great is that for life’s first imprint – taking a knife to your nether regions?)

    2. Nearly constant humiliation at school in grades 1, 2 (art teacher) 4, 5, 6, well, let’s just say, most of school. (John Taylor Gatto has well documented the horrors of “education.”)

    3. Being beaten with a paddle, even in 10th grade–for being smarter than the science teacher about elementary electrical theory. (I won’t go into details, but he was an idiot “jock coach” at a “Christian” school, where science is mostly despised anyway, with zero rational discussion.)

    4. Constant hellfire and brimstone preaching, including being shown various “rapture” movies with people being beheaded, and kids crying and screaming during the movie that was meant to scare viewers into being “saved” and accepting church dogma. I’d lay awake all night going over my latest conversion experience, if I had prayed just right, or had done something to anger a petulant SkyGod.

    It’s not just toxic parenting out there—home was a haven for me—there is a whole toxic institutionalized culture of abuse.

    “Encounters with people are causes of severe, unbroken, unrelenting stress…” ~Joseph Chilton Pearce (1980) Magical Child: Rediscovering Nature’s Plan For Our Children, p. 80

    • There are many ways to be abused; the ACE Study measured just 10, and those were personal and family-oriented. Certainly institutions can also inflict abuse; there are plenty of examples. The experiences you list might easily lead a person to distrust institutions of all types. I’m sorry that you had them — you did not deserve it. A trauma-informed approach focuses on preventing childhood adversity everywhere — in families and in institutions — as well as helping people and institutions stop traumatizing already traumatized adults.

  128. Pingback: The growing interest in ACEs and trauma-informed practices « ACEs Too High

  129. Pingback: A New approach to school discipline — suspensions drop 85% • Social Justice Solutions

  130. Back in 1980, shortly after the DAV’s “Forgotten Warrior” study on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was published (Wilson, CSU, 1978), I was involved in setting up a Vietnam Vets counselling program in Juneau, AK, lobbying the state legislature and governor’s office for Vietnam Veteran recognition, and for funding to have statewide urban and rural mental health providers take notice of veterans’ problems. In the ensuing years, PTSD seems to have grown to incorporate a far larger pool of behaviors, including patterns of spousal and sexual abuse. (It was thought, then, that these abusive patterns were outside of the range of PTSD behaviors!)

    My involvement in the project was by no means just a case of “survivor guilt” and doing good works. I was actively engaged in trying to figure out what had happened to me because of my military experiences, not fully appreciative of my pre-military history of self and familial dysfunctional behaviors and attendant health risk factors. I was initially unwilling to accept the value of therapy and a medication regime, preferring instead to “self-medicate.” I’m not a combat vet, but was, after a fashion, very close to the action. With the publication of the ACE study, I know that I’m at least 6.5 and probably higher from childhood experiences, and my resilience factors are only at/about 8. Given that I enlisted when I was 18 in a desperate attempt to get free of familial abuse, I can’t help but wonder how the ACEs study relates to adult, active duty and ex-military PTSD?

    I recognize that the study was deliberately limited to 10 principal factors, and have followed the conversation about the efloration/expansion of other stress inducing behaviors; and I think there is a compelling argument to be made connecting the heightened incidence of PTSD in today’s “modern” military, and the even more frightful increase in GI suicides (currently running at about one death per day), with high risk ACE and and low resilience factors.

    Answers, particularly if there are direct co-evals of ACEs and resilience being a predictive factor for PTSD among the military, can go a long way towards profile evaluations of enlistees, career performance evaluations, and as predictors requiring DoD, DVA, and DHHS efforts for post-active duty service members. Importantly, too, these Federal agencies need to look at other high-stress military occupational specialties (combat aviators, intelligence analysts, forward trauma care units, forward air controllers, combat engineers, etc.) to see if there are other behavioral correlations.

    At the time Wilson’s study was published and PTSD was accepted as an appropriate psychological disorder, the expressed goal of treatment was to reintegrate remote, isolated service members back into society as functioning “pro-social, humanist activists.” I’m afraid I don’t see that as an element of today’s treatment modalities; seeing instead a willingness to slap the PTSD label on the individual, treat them as incurably broken, and make sure they have a full pharmacological toolkit.

    I look forward to reading more about the evolution of ACE factors and/or data as both a means of preventing childhood damage and as a treatment modality that can be used for military and civilian experiences to repair and mitigate PTSD.

    Thank you for your diligence and for bringing the ACE results forward.

    • Hi, Allen — Thank you for your comment. Indeed, there are recent studies that have looked into the link between ACEs and the increased likelihood of PTSD in the military. Here’s one that was done on Canadian soldiers. If you check out other studies from the researchers that did that study, you’ll find others.
      I know that Dr. Felitti had suggested the same thing that you did several years ago, and did get some interest from the military. I plan on looking into this issue later this summer.
      Any research that appears we will post a link to on ACEsConnection, the social network that accompanies ACEsTooHigh. You might do a search on there, too.
      Cheers, Jane

  131. Pingback: Childhood Trauma? Get Your ACE Score | Mental Health Works

  132. Pingback: Paradigm Shift in Education and Parenting – time to stand up and take note | SAMANTHA MAGUIRE

  133. I sit at a firm nine; probably more as I was the main caretaker/defender of five children at age 13, I was trapped at ‘home’ without any method of leaving for over 5 years (I was ‘home-schooled’ by my abusive parent, who did no such thing, so I was basically a school dropout at 12 until I tested out of high school at 19) and have been labeled as ‘gifted,’ but had no outlet, support, or social life.

    I scored a five on the resistance points; most having to with my early childhood. It’s hard to equivalent the fact that my parents played with me as a 2 year old with what they did the rest of my life. One of them stayed at home, but did nothing about household work, schooling, or child care; they hurt me when I did not do these thing, or when the littles got to loud or noisy, or really no reason at all. The other parent worked and did nothing at all about the situation until they were personally threatened, and now acts like the only thing that was wrong was when they were threatened, and that the rest was totally normal.

    Luckily I have never been sexually abused (I may never let anyone touch me just to avoid that) I don’t remember large tracts of time from my childhood. I have been working on my bachelors degree full or part time for 5 years but I have not graduated; I have no money to pay for classes regularly and cannot get a job. Oh, I can find work, but finding people who are willing to pay me is a whole other problem. I apparently have a ‘please take advantage of me’ sign somewhere, because if I’m not constantly on guard (to the point of paranoia) I will have people do just that. Since I have had to move back in with my neglectful parent (and all the younger siblings, who blame me for our parent’s problems) I am constantly faced with ridicule at my failure and my family’s desire to turn me into a personal servant in repayment for taking me in.

    I have contemplated suicide. I have found myself becoming the kind of person I don’t want to be. My need to avoid people tends to take over most of the time, and being forced to interact with my family brings out my sharp tongue or scares me. I used to be a happy, optimistic person who was always asking questions and doing things. Now it’s hard to even bring myself to care about basic functions like eating. I feel like I’m trudging through life with no end in sight. But I can still convince myself that maybe I’ll be alright someday.

    • Heather — You’ve been through so much. You are already all right. You have tremendous awareness of how your past and your environment affect you. Many people don’t have that. Now, however, you’re probably not in your best environment. I hope you find it and move there soon!

    • I hope you find support, Heather. You are a good person in a tough place. I have sought free or sliding scale counseling services at those times I needed supportive voices in my life. Often this has led to referrals to other services that have helped get my life back on track.

    • Heather, I hope you know how very much you mean to the world, and how very important you are. My heart goes out to you!! I have a very similar story — I was “homeschooled,” the oldest and protector of 5, with talent but years and years of being trapped in my family’s home with an abusive parent and no outlet. I lived with them for years, thinking they needed me and not having enough money to live on my own… while meanwhile, I felt dead inside, like I was just pushing through the days. I struggled in college, but finally got through with a degree that allowed me to start working in a creative industry. Do you like to write? Paint? Dance? Please do whatever it is you love to do whenever you can, because I believe this can help. For me, cognitive behavioral therapy was a life saver (even when my therapist had to take me on as a charity case because my health insurance dropped coverage), as was finally moving away from my family. I was poor for years, but so relieved, so happy to finally be free, that I was willing to eat oatmeal for dinner for days. Please, know that you matter. And know that you are not alone in your story. And know that, most importantly, none of this was your fault.

      • Erin, I felt I was reading my bio with yours. I was also the oldest daughter of six children. My mother left an abusive husband and then went through the family inheritance and started beating the others. I left and the children lived with me. Since I diapered the younger ones, they were my children.
        I was sucked back into being the “man” of the family that destroyed relationships I had with nice eligible men. Up until 10 years ago, I reported my sister for stealing my mother’s money I got for her after her husband died.
        It does not matter, I was Greek and born on my father’s birthday, nothing I could do to make that woman love me. Any husband or boyfriend that would use your separation of your screwed up family against you, you should leave them.
        A book called “Released from Shame” saved me, I realized I did more for her financially than any man she bore children with. How can you explain a toxic evil family? You need to leave them to die without you. They are not whole, nor do they have the spiritual stamina to be so.

    • Hi Heather- Please seek counseling in your area, as was stated there are many places/ services at no cost/ sliding scale. I’m concerned that you have contemplated suicide, I have been there, I’m sure my ACE score would be off the charts, so I know what a dark place a persons mind, heart and soul are in when finally thinking of suicide. There are resources out there, also support groups. Please reach out, you matter, you are important!

  134. I’m not sure I should have read this article, and some of the related ones as they are mind blowers I’ll be thinking about for quite a while. I typically survive by trying not to think about this stuff, but I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that the toxic nature of all of this stress builds like or as a minor or major form of PTSD. My scores? 9/10, but still consider myself very lucky to not be 10/10. 13 or 14 out of 14 on the resilience score—my saving grace. My children are at 0/10 and 14/14. That’s my life’s work and I remind myself of it when I have setbacks with health or business. Many thanks to all who are working in this field.

    • Dear GG, You might find the writings of Mark Brady’s wordpress blog The Committed Parent useful. He describes every day experiences of the toxic stuff as well as how the body/mind is always trying to heal and how we can work with this natural process more effectively – resilience. I’ve become a regular reader and use his material with groups.

  135. Pingback: Please Tell Me I Am Not Disposable | Worth Chewing On

  136. I am a 35 F and I scored a 10 on the Ace and a 12 on the resilience. I came from a pretty abusive then later unsupportive family. I had significant behavioral problems throughout school and even today I struggle to manage using food as an emotional helper as well as anger management issues and also some issues around connecting with others because we moved around so much throughout my childhood. To look at me you would only see the weight. I come off confident and friendly and functional. Most people who I tell my story to are shocked.

    I was kicked out at 18 and from there got my eventual M.S. (only one in family) am married to a wonderful man and am successfully self employed with significant linguistic (i learned Mandarin) ability. I volunteer, I am generous, I am kind. I do not smoke and am a vegetarian.

    Out of my friends who were in similar situations from high school, I was the only one of two who I know who “made it out alive” meaning got a degree and a professional life. We often talk about this and people ask me, “How did you become so resilient?” Honestly, I have no idea except not being like them drove me. My natural intelligence and curiosity drove me, I realize that I have long been the exception and not the rule.

    To hear the later physical correlations are terrifying. I wonder, depsite all the great work I have done to float above my given state… what else may be lying in wait for me?

    • A great deal of your health depends on your feeling you have some locus of control. Look at the article “Assessment of Resilience in the Aftermath of Trauma.”
      With 10 ACE’s you have to be both proactive and gentle in your approach to wellness & recovery & life. Dusty Miller, Brene Brown can help you cope with shame. Dr. Gabor Mate can widen your perspective & knowledge. But as a man who’s mother died @ 51 of heart disease, I know there is no substitute for self-care and you need support for this. I have been in OA for over twenty years, I’m 48, take no Rx’s and am very healthy, loved and connected- I owe a great deal to the rooms and the profound wisdom found in OA. Take good care of yourself by being vulnerable with the right people in the right setting…

    • I’m with you on this one! I scored a 9 on ACE & 9 on resilience. Like you, I’ve risen above the trauma to forge a somewhat normal live (not without problems). I too have had people marvel at me (including my therapist) on how I survived and thrived. But despite it all, I still feel immensely broken, and until recently figured it was my cross to bear. I keep waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop’….what is the long term effect of childhood (and some adult) trauma and where is it lurking to bring me down? I so desperately did not want a life like my mother’s that I made sure I would rise above and do better. In that respect, I have succeeded. Still many scars and hidden pain. In therapy now and hoping to unpack it all and heal.

  137. I have a low ACE score, but also a very low resilience score. Are there resources for building up resilience?

    • Hi, Kit — There are quite a few resources for building resilience, from ResilienceTrumpsACEs.org, which offers tools for building individual, family and community resilience; to sites like the Mayo Clinic. The basics for building individual resilience are taking care of yourself (exercise, nutrition, meditation or something like it), staying connected (friends, volunteering, etc.), and asking for help when you need it.

  138. im at a 10 and its scary because ive had tons of health problems and have attempted suicide more then once. Im in therapy now but its going to be a long long road.

    • The fact that you’ve made it this far shows that you are strong, Robyn. Good for you that you’re in therapy. You’re taking care of yourself. It’s no doubt scary, but stay on that road. It will get better.

  139. Pingback: tumblr backups

  140. Pingback: Making Habits, Breaking Habits – by Jeremy Dean | Probaway - Life Hacks

  141. I scored an 9/10 on the ACE. I think that just about says it all. I am overweight and have used food as comfort. I was an overachiever in school and always wanted to please the teachers. I tried to be invisible as much as possible. I have been parentified. I struggle with self worth and self forgiveness. I am bipolar and struggle with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. I continue to often be a loner. The ACE scale only really begins to grasp the severity of childhood abuse and neglect. I currently work for CPS and I don’t think I would be there without my background. I don’t expect any responses to this post-I just needed to be able to say certain things for the first time. Thank you if you took the time to read what I wrote.

    • Liz — Thank you for your comment. And I am so very sorry that you had to endure that abuse when you were a child; you did not deserve any of it. And I am very glad that someone with your background is working for CPS — you have a visceral empathy. I hope you’re taking care of yourself, and that you work for an organization that encourages its workers to do a lot of self-care. Your chosen profession is very challenging.
      – Jane

  142. Pingback: New data shows U.S. children still being exposed to serious violence and trauma | Safe Start Center

  143. Pingback: Nearly 35 million U.S. children have experienced one or more types of childhood trauma « ACEs Too High

  144. I have a score of 8 on the ACEs but 14 on the Resilience. I have many health issues (diabetes, PCOS, obesity, etc.) I fit into a lot of the graphs above…the most surprise is the link to missing work! But I don’t feel too damanaged. I guess the high resilience score is really really good in terms of still being sucessful adult?

    • Yep — researchers say that having a lot of resilience factors goes a long way to ameliorating adversity. I’m sorry that you’re suffering health affects, and that you had such childhood adversity. No child deserves that.

  145. Pingback: The CDC’s ACE Study summarized in 14-minute video from Academy on Violence & Abuse « ACEs Too High

  146. Pingback: Child Abuse And The Most Important Public Health Study Ever | Family Rights Project

  147. Pingback: What motivated Boston bombing suspects? Looking for their ACEs might provide some answers « ACEs Too High

  148. I’m so appreciative that you paired ACE AND Resilience scores! I will use this with all those I work with on the “wounded healer” path.
    These can be a foundational part of each person’s Health Record as the movement to integrate physical/medical and behavioral/mental health continues to unfold.
    Do you know who is working to make this happen? I’d love to contribute and support this with my background in both fields..
    I HIGHLY recommend an excellent resource for easy-to-read/grasp “translating social neuroscience” is Mark Brady. His blogs on WordPress are The Committed Parent and The Flowering Brain is an excellent resource. He writes with elegant simplicity about everyday experiences and the neurobiology of development, trauma, and evolution.

    • Thanks, Linda. I don’t know who’s combining ACE & Resilience in health records. If you post the question on ACEsConnection, someone might know.
      Thanks for Mark Brady links. I’ll check them out.

  149. Wow, the more research I do the more really great info I find. This is such a big deal… Is there any specific research done on the the
    amnesia part of this. I had no idea for 50 years…would swear to anyone ..my mom had horrible taste in men..but no one touched me. Well the subconscious and that little kid inside can’t stay silent forever, and I know now. How do we help the kids who have the toxic secret inside?
    I think it has to be school based. Younger kids normally don’t remember …kids are not meant to cope with this.

    • Yes, people with higher ACE scores had a higher risk of amnesia. Figuring out how to help kids — a lot of folks at and associated with SAMHSA are figuring this out.

  150. Pingback: Child Abuse And The Most Important Public Health Study Ever | INVISIBLE CHILDREN

  151. Pingback: Violence is men’s fault, says Dallas mayor: “We’ve created those traditions” « ACEs Too High

  152. Pingback: A way out of the sad state of the world. « Probaway – Life Hacks

  153. Pingback: Camden, NJ, teens, young people suffer under heavy load of trauma « ACEs Too High

  154. Pingback: What happened to “Charlie” started in his mother’s womb « ACEs Too High

  155. I wondered if experiencing serious childhood illness and its treatment (eg cancer) has a similar impact to those of the risks that are asked about in the ACE questionnaire?

    • That’s a good question, Sarah. If the experience was traumatic and ongoing, then it’s likely to have impact on the brain. It would be worth doing a search in the medical literature to see if anyone’s looking at that. It’s clear that there are many other types of severe and chronic trauma that can alter brain functions; the ACE Study measured only 10.

  156. a new concept to me, tho i think i usually get a pretty good hx. might want to use this questionaire. whats the possiblility that children with add/adhd are more likely to have some of those experiences?
    doug

    • Hi, Doug. There’s research that says that much of ADD/ADHD is misdiagnosed. It’s really a normal response to trauma. Search for Victor Carrion at Stanford — he’s been doing some interesting work in this area.

      • I’m sorry JESTEVENS, but I must disagree with you in the strongest possible way. When you make unscientific statements like “much of ADD/ADHD is misdiagnosed, it’s really a normal response to trauma you are showing gross lack of awareness at least and gross incompetence at worst. ADHD/ADD is a biologically based disorder that is a result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters within the brain. Your nonsense is not based on science, but rather mythology that allows individuals with this disorder to suffer needlessly. I would suggest you visit reputable organizations that are committed to providing factual information like CHADD.org, The National Institutes of Health, and the United States Department of Education.

      • Actually, it is based on science. I’ll be doing an article soon on the latest research that has led many scientists, including brain researchers, to that conclusion. As you point out, the response to trauma is indeed biologically based — it’s been long known that trauma causes significant changes in the brain. But it may not be a disorder. It may be a predictable, normal response of the brain’s neurotransmitters. And, if that’s the case, then a solution may be to prevent, reduce or stop the trauma.

      • Could giftedness be a trauma? I’m thinking the very common parentification, social isolation, boredom (trouble resulting), lack of protection/attention from teachers (who see others as needing resources more).

        Also, recent study (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130124091534.htm) links anxiety with positive school performance. I know ADHD and anxiety can often be comorbid, but it appears to me that anxiety can serve a protective function on some of the impulsive behaviors of ADHD (e.g. indecision to the point of paralysis can prevent overspending, hypochondria can fight heavy drinking, fear of disappointing teachers can motivate one to complete busywork). But this adaptive anxiety would also, in my hypothesis, significantly decrease the likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD.

        Lastly, I probably have 2-3 ACE criteria if one rounds up (none from the list; no intentional failure of any adult to love, protect, provide for, and take care of me (some close extended family deaths due to old age diseases, a few moves/school changes, a few new sibling additions, parents who clearly meet many criteria for ADHD (without any known ACE criteria of the ten listed))). I have many of the characteristics of ADHD, as do all of the members of my immediate family, and some of my extended family. Of my very closest friends, two have ACE scores of at least eight and five, two are around two, and two have none that I am aware of. All are very gifted and meet many criteria for ADHD (many have had it suggested by doctors or teachers or other professionals). All are very broad in their interests and all are concerned about other people’s suffering/the state of the world.

        Given the above (which is virtually worthless data), I have trouble seeing ADHD especially when it occurs alongside giftedness as a response to trauma as I understand it from ACE. I certainly find myself quite fond of it and believe the individuals I describe are limited only by the ability of society to help them find a way of using their broad skill sets and deep dedication. Is there another kind of mental “condition” that better fits this kind of extremely broad curiosity, patterned/system thinking, intense focus to loss of sense of time, fidgety habits/need for daily exercise?

        When you say “much of” ADD/ADHD is misdiagnosed, is there a particular subset that seems accurately diagnosed with a different etiology? Does this hold equally true when looking at adults as well as children? Would this include ADHD that doesn’t come to the attention of professionals because the individuals are high-functioning or have developed coping mechanisms? I don’t doubt the research point to trauma as a cause of much ADHD, but I’m curious as to how this might work in the other cases I’m describing.

      • Thanks for the comment. Google Dr. Victor Carrion at Stanford University — he’s been doing a lot of this research.

  157. Pingback: Survey finds teen, young mothers using Crittenton services have alarmingly high ACE scores « ACEs Too High

  158. Pingback: Survey finds teen, young mothers in Crittenton homes have alarmingly high ACE scores « ACEs Too High

  159. Hi there,
    Thanks for all the amazing information. In connection with the Forensic Pediatrics Department at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, I’m producing a video about child abuse which features the ACE Study. Do you happen to know how I would get permission to feature some of the above charts and graphs in the video?
    Thanks,
    Melody George

    • Hi, Melody — I sent you a reply via email. But in case you don’t receive it, feel free to use any of the charts and graphs from the “Got Your ACE Score?” section. Just credit Drs. Anda and Felitti, with a link to the CDC’s ACE Study site — http://www.cdc.gov/ace.
      Cheers, J.

  160. Pingback: Childhood ACE is a measure of lifelong trauma. « Probaway – Life Hacks

  161. This study fascinates me. I have an ACE score of 5, and I also have chronic depression, chronic fatigue and asthma. At least I now know the root of some of the stuff I’ve gone through.

  162. Kind of depressing to be at a 4…however, I realize I’ve been battling the results of childhood trauma rather successfully…I’m a recovering alcoholic 29 years clean/sober – still active in my recovery. Exercise to deal with depression with the occasional counseling session to manage life happenings. Didn’t have kids to pass the illnesses on to, thank goodness, because I probably would have. Have supportive friends/family. At 67, have to do the best I can to be positive and enjoy the beauty of nature and life in a spiritual (not religious) way. My latest favorite saying is “It is what it is.” This helps me keep my head up – along with being around people who make me laugh out loud! Best wishes to all of us; knowledge is power!

  163. I scored a 9. I’m 29, with a 6 y/o girl who scores a 0 today. I live alone, support myself financially, have no problems with alcohol or drugs, and exercise regularly to combat major depressive disorder. I struggle occasionally with absenteeism, but haven’t lost a job yet because I keep it under control.

    Your article made it sound like a high ACE score means there is no hope for a person to overcome their childhood trauma, but doesn’t take into account factors like intelligence and resilience. There is hope, for some.

    • There’s hope for any child who’s experienced resilience, such as a mentor, a family member who’s taken interest, a teacher, good friends, i.e., someone with whom a child can develop a solid relationship. And as you say, a good education definitely helps, too. I have an ACE score of 7; I had a very loving grandmother who was involved in my life at a critical juncture, good teachers, great education and great friends.
      Congratulations for not passing ACEs on to your child! That’s a HUGE accomplishment.

    • Just remember, those higher numbers just show an increased likelihood of particular problems – by no means is it definite. In fact, almost all of those higher scores are still under 50%, which means you’re more than likely to not have any particular problem. Don’t let this information make you feel doomed, by any means! It’s more of a tool for those trying to help people to understand root causes.

  164. Pingback: The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the Largest Public Health Study … | Your Child Feels Best!

  165. Pingback: The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the largest, most important public health study you never heard of — began in an obesity clinic « ACEs Too High

  166. Thank you for this powerful site. I have 1 maybe 2 and I’m thankful I didn’t reach a higher number. My heart goes to the ones who score higher than 0. I thought my life had been difficult but now after i have read this article and the comments I consider myself blessed. I have been able to overcome many things that were stuck in my head for so long and I work very hard to make sure my son won’t pass level 0. I wonder if a question about being bullied should be # 11?
    Thank you.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Luis. There could be a #11, a #12, etc. There are many types of trauma. As you point out, bullying is certainly one of them. The ACE Study looked at just 10, and, as such, the ACE score is better used as a guide. If, for example, a person has been bullied regularly, lives in a very violent neighborhood and has been a car accident that caused injury or death, I would say that person could be regarded as having an ACE score of three.

  167. Wow I am only a 3.5-4.5 counting bulling. But I am a mess. I have Chushing’s PTSD as a result and take a bunch of meds including some new experimental ones. I was always told I was just around the corner from getting it together. Which just made me feel worse.
    I am smart and talented and it has been wasted. With the problems we face, energy, medicine et cetera we can not waste people.

    I met a woman in an airport who worked for children’s services in Ohio. She was in South Carolina checking on a child who was moved to a relative there. I asked her about physiological abuse. She said they did not deal with it because it was not a problem; on further questioning she admitted it was to hard to prove so they just ignored it. Then she got red in the face and pretended to go to the bathroom and sat elsewhere.

    Nice huh?

    • My mother did social work. Unless they have witnesses and have some physical violence with scars and bruising, it is not enough to remove a child.

  168. Almost shamed to admit I’m a zero. I wasn’t coddled, but I was never mistreated by anybody (except, maybe, an Irish nun who slapped me once for an impertinence). I don’t know that I’m especially happy, but I sure haven’t worried about charting my own course in life. It’s not that I’m always right or successful, but I don’t find making decisions difficult.

  169. Pingback: “Have-not” takes on a different meaning in essay on disadvantaged children — the scarce resource is quality of parenting « ACEs Too High

  170. Pingback: How children (don’t) succeed; a program that helps them succeed; should these studies be ACE-informed? « ACEs Too High

  171. Pingback: When abused babies are like car crashes — journalists need to ask more questions about teen charged with child abuse « ACEs Too High

  172. It seems pointless to encourage people to strive for children with a score below 1 when the person already has a traumatizied past. How can they prevent their child from experiencing parental depression, for example, or divorce which often occurs as a result, when the situation is already happening?

    My score is a 7, and I am happy that my children have lower scores than mine, at 2 and 3. One child was bullied without my knowledge, and this is another factor not included in ACES that has longlasting effects. Both are self-supporting, empathic adults, despite thier challenges.

    By idealizing the impossible, aren’t you discouraging parents who are making heroic efforts?

  173. Pingback: Adverse childhood experiences affect unemployment; Maté: childhood trauma is universal template for addiction; “Runaway Girl” — from street life to MBA « ACEs Too High

  174. Pingback: Kids’ school behavior problems come from home, neighborhood; schools, home visit programs can help « ACEs Too High

  175. I have a score of 7 according to your survey. I am 47 years old, obese, and now a widow trying to raise my children alone. I try as hard as I can to keep my children happy, and protected from having to be subjected to these ACE factors. Sometimes I feel like I am losing the battle, but I keep going. My question is, what are the solutions? I have always believed that my overweight was a result of my traumatic childhood – especially the sexual abuse, but how do I fix it. I have been exercising and working out for 2 years straight, trying to diet, but the cortizone levels in my body won’t allow me to release any of my fat. I am more fit than most 120 lb women, but I just cannot get rid of the weight. I have been searching for the solution, but the web just keeps sending me to sites like this that explain the problems again and again.

    • Hi, Brenda. Good for you for keeping going, for exercising, and for wanting to make sure your children don’t have 7 ACEs. I am sorry that you had so many traumatic experiences as a child.
      You may find some useful information for your family at the Children’s Resilience Initiative site. http://resiliencetrumpsaces.org/
      As for losing weight, if you live in San Diego, there’s an obesity clinic at Kaiser Permanente that incorporates ACE concepts.
      I don’t know what health issues you have, but you also might try the PPDA Association — http://www.ppdassociation.org/
      The site has a practitioner directory.
      Also, practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, etc. have been shown to reduce the physiological responses of stress, including the production of stress hormones. http://www.tm.org/health-benefits-stress

    • My ace score is 9. My mother became abuse after cancer surgery when I was 6 yrs old. I was the oldest daughter of six children.
      I take pregnenolone 10 mf. It causes the adrenal glands to lower cortisol. Also good natural supplement for anti inflammation properties. I lost 6 lbs and 3 inches around my waist.

  176. Pingback: The painful side of compassion emerges when we can’t help a student « ACEs Too High

  177. Pingback: ‘Starve the beast,’ says these cities – but don’t cut people off; reduce need for social services instead « ACEs Too High

  178. I am a perfect 10 and I am loving myself to life… defying the odds and determined not to allow that which I am incapable of dominate that which I am fully capable of and willing to apply. Love and life to all and may restoration be the power of our nation! Than the powers that be for the world of art. <3 <3 <3 ~Ms. Rachel E. Milano aka R.E.M

  179. Pingback: With 45 million U.S. victims of child sex abuse, we can’t put their millions of abusers in jail « ACEs Too High

  180. I just realized that I have to revise my ACE score up to 2, maybe even 3 or 4!

    In addition to the “studied” items (my Father died suddenly when I was 11, and may or may not have been a “problem drinker”, depending on the definition, but my Mother has also passed on so I can’t check), I definitely have many of the traits associated with ADD*, OCD* and ‘giftedness’*.
    All of these, while not ‘acute trauma’ per se, *do* cause chronic stress – especially in youngsters who can’t possibly have the life experience to resist the judgements of authority figures, family or peers. The extra adjustments one has to make to navigate the world as it’s set up (by and for neuro-typical folks), and the negative self-esteem-related messages internalized because of that, can be truly soul-warping.

    * I refuse to claim the label of any particular ‘syndrome’, because I am soooo much more-than and other-than that, but sometimes the shorthand *is* useful.

  181. Pingback: Massachusetts, Washington State lead U.S. trauma-sensitive school movement « ACEs Too High

  182. Pingback: Toxic stress from childhood trauma causes obesity, too « ACEs Too High

  183. I tested a 7. I guess it is amazing I got to where I am. It also makes me sad to look back at my difficult childhood. More importantly, at this point in time, my children would have a test score of 0, My goal as a parent is to keep it that way.

    • Hi Teddy — It is amazing. People with high ACE scores like you have so many challenges. Congratulations for getting to where you are, and for your goal of keeping your children’s ACE scores at zero.

    • Awesome Teddy! I had a score of 8. Though I cannot say that my child was a zero, I have worked very hard to break the cycle of ACEs. Congratulations to those of us who survived and went on to thrive! Blessings!

    • @Teddy – I completely relate to what you have posted. I tested an 8. And I know that I must have one strong will to not be totally insane from all that I have had to endure. I am so lucky I can function at all. Everyday I am sad because of the hell I have been put through. My 3 children are now adults. My two son’s married with children of their own. My daughter fighting a drug addiction at this time. However, neither of them know anything about what I have gone through & am still going through to this day. Not yet anyway. I have not wanted them to know because I do not want them to have negative or sad thoughts that would effect them. And as you said, “My children’s test score would be 0 & it is my goal as a parent is to keep it that way”.

  184. Why is question 7 so gendered? Is the correlation different when moms are violent to kids’ fathers? I know of some people where that was the case, but according to the survey, that experience wouldn’t add to their ACE score.

    • Hi, Amara: That’s what was chosen to study — witnessing a mother being abused. There were a lot of publications in the literature that looked at that issue, mainly because many more women are abused than men. It doesn’t mean that watching a father being abused isn’t traumatic; it just wasn’t measured. There are, in fact, many childhood experiences that are traumatic that were not measured in this study — a debilitating accident or illness, being homeless, living in a violent neighborhood, etc. If they were overwhelming and caused toxic stress, then those can indeed count as an adverse childhood experience.

  185. Pingback: Roundup: Say no to cookie-cutter approach, says juvenile court judge; migraines, strokes linked to ACEs; is it OK to divorce your family? « ACEs Too High

  186. My husband has an ACE score of 8. He was molested by a Minister at the age of 10 and had an abusive step father. It is interesting to us that although he is not obese he has developed type 2 adult onset diabetes. Is there any indication of abuse and diabetes without the obesity component present.

    • Hi, Annie: So very sorry to take so long to respond to your question. Here’s an answer from Dr. Vincent Felitti, one of the co-founders of the ACE Study:

      That’s a good question and a tough one, Jane. A small portion of adult onset diabetics are not obese, and the assumption is that an autoimmune process is at work. We have a paper out relating ACE Score to autoimmune processes, and one might conjecture such a process might be at work here. The citation follows: Dube SR, Fairweather D, Pearson WS, Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Croft JB. Cumulative childhood stress and autoimmune disease in Adults. Psychosomatic Med. 2009; 71: 243-250.
      If you want me to email the paper to you, contact me at stevens dot j dot e dot 12 at gmail dot com.

  187. Pingback: There’s something missing from Weight of the Nation « ACEs Too High

  188. Things that make you go “Hmmm?” – I have at least 1, maybe 2 (and no way of finding out for sure).

    Thank you for this thought provoking site. And keep up the good work!

    • You know, eating and sleeping go together. If you have anxiety from a sense of not feeling safe or never at peace with the family, you have high cortisol levels (fight or flicght response).. If cortisol is high, you are not getting good sleep. And you are not eating well either. I work for a health insurance company and do health care assessments. I talk to people all day about this dynamic.

  189. Pingback: Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline — expulsions drop 85% « ACEs Too High

  190. Pingback: Roundup: Autism and obesity? Talking ACEs in Olympia, WA; childhood trauma leads to lower IQ scores; Catholic clergy child sex abuse cases increase 15% « ACEs Too High

  191. Pingback: Knowing ex-offenders’ high ACE Scores may help them from returning to prison « ACEs Too High

  192. Pingback: Tarpon Springs, FL, may be first trauma-informed city in U.S. | Reporting on Health

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s