Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients?

ADonnaDadWhen I was twelve, I was coming home from swimming at my neighbor’s dock when I saw an ambulance’s flashing lights in our driveway. I still remember the asphalt burning my feet as I stood, paralyzed, and watched the paramedics take away my father. It was as if I knew those flashing lights were a harbinger that my childhood was over.

At the hospital, a surgeon performed “minor” elective bowel surgery on my young dad. The surgeon made an error, and instead of my father coming home to the “welcome home” banners we’d painted, he died.

The medical care system failed my father miserably. Then the medical care system began to fail me.

At fourteen, I started fainting. The doctors implied I was trying to garner attention. In college I began having full seizures. I kept them to myself, fearful of seeming a modern Camille. I’d awaken on the floor drenched in sweat, with strangers standing quizzically over me. Then, I had a seizure in front of my aunt, a nurse, and forty-eight hours later awoke in the hospital with a pacemaker in my chest.

In my early forties I developed Guillain Barre Syndrome, a neurological autoimmune disorder that causes paralysis from the neck down. I found myself in Johns Hopkins Hospital, on the exact anniversary of my father’s death, in the same hospital wing where he had died, unable to move. I was a few days shy of turning forty-two, the very age at which my dad had passed away.

I recovered, only to relapse, falling paralyzed again. Many of my children’s early memories revolve around my bed, where we played board games and read books.

It wasn’t until I was fifty-one-years old that a physician sat me down and asked me the most important question of my life – one that would lead me to better health than I’d had for decades: “Were there any childhood traumas or stressors that might have contributed to the extreme level of inflammation you’re experiencing as an adult?”

My physician explained that ongoing adversity in childhood leads to a chronic state of “fight, flight or freeze.” Researchers at Yale had recently shown that when inflammatory stress hormones flood a child’s body and brain, they alter the genes that oversee our stress reactivity, re-setting the stress response to “high” for life. This increases the risk of inflammation, which manifests later in cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases like mine.

As a science reporter I was shocked to discover that research linking childhood stress to adult illness began in 1996 with the Kaiser Permanente-CDC Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study). Since then, over 1500 peer-reviewed studies have replicated these findings.

The research was stunning. Two-thirds of Americans report experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences. These include obvious sexual and physical abuse, but also stressors that many consider to be normal — growing up with divorced parents, living with a depressed or alcoholic mom or dad, having a parent who belittled or humiliated you – or simply not feeling as if your family had your back. People who’d experienced four such categories of childhood adversity were twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer and depression as adults.

One statistic struck home with me: women who’d faced three types of childhood adversity had a sixty percent greater risk of being hospitalized with an autoimmune disease as an adult. Similar links existed between childhood stressors and adult heart disease, diabetes, migraines and irritable bowel disease. Suffering six categories of early life stress shortened one’s lifespan by twenty years.

However, one study of 125,000 patients showed that when physicians acknowledged and discussed patients’ childhood trauma openly, patients enjoyed a thirty-five percent reduction in doctor visits. Validating patient suffering invites patients to address it at last.

Yet, despite twenty years of research linking childhood stress to adult disease, the majority of the medical community acts as if these findings don’t exist.

This August, students will begin training in medical schools across the country. They will be expected to emerge with deep-rooted knowledge about how to help patients heal. But shockingly, only a few medical schools teach students about how childhood suffering influences adult disease. The majority of medical schools leave this science out. Perhaps they fear teaching it will open the door to bringing psychiatry into the exam room.

But shouldn’t physicians consider the whole patient – body and mind – so that they can suggest behavioral health tools that will alleviate both the root causes and the symptoms of disease? When physicians help patients come to the profound revelation that childhood adversity plays a role in the chronic illnesses they face now, they help them to heal physically and emotionally at last.

All disease is multifactorial. Past trauma is one of those factors. I can’t help but think of how my own story might have been different if the medical community had been trauma-aware. What if, after my father’s sudden death, the emotional cost of such a traumatic loss had been validated, and our medical system had offered therapeutic interventions?

It’s been two decades since the research linking childhood adversity to adult illness began. But think of how much money we might have saved in our health care system since then if we considered the role that past trauma plays in one’s current medical condition, instead of waiting a lifetime for it to show up in devastating and difficult to treat diseases that ruin lives for a second time.

According to the CDC, the annual health care cost of adult patients who have a history of early trauma is $124 billion a year. Validating patients’ past trauma isn’t only beneficial for their well being, it translates into fewer tests, procedures, and health care dollars spent.

Statistics tell us that two-thirds of Americans reading these words, including physicians, will recognize that experiences in their childhood still trail after them today, like small ghosts. Fortunately, medical science now recognizes many proven interventions for recovering from trauma, even decades after events have occurred.

We are long overdue for a national awareness campaign — similar to public health initiatives on how seat belts save lives, smoking causes cancer, and hand washing prevents flu — to educate physicians and families on how childhood trauma begets adult illness. Only then can we help those who feel paralyzed by their pasts to achieve the healthy lives they deserve.

_________________

This article first appeared in the Huffington Post. Donna Jackson Nakazawa is the author of Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How you Can Heal. You can follow her on Twitter at @DonnaJackNak, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/donnajacksonnakazawaauthor.

442 responses

  1. Yes! I am 50 years old and dealing with multiple health issues. Trauma of death and abuse in childhood. It never ends. I agree and have seen first hand examples of medical industry making revenue, not healing, the objective. Very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This makes so much sense. If stress of life can effect you, then early childhood stress or trama could easily do more to a child. This was like a light bulb moment for me !!

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  4. My father was an alcoholic and my mother enabled him. We would have to get up in the middle of the night to go look for him. I was the only one of us 3 kids to get sick a lot and my sister was too overweight as a child.. I now have Dercum disease and lipo/lymphodema.

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  5. This article and study hits home. I lost my father to cancer at 15. My mother remarried so that was very traumatic too. I have suffered with Lupus and have had so many illnesses and surgeries. My latest illness is seizures. I wish I had someone who had listened
    to my concerns and had acknowledged my feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have suffered terrible trauma as a child, violent abusive alcoholic father, then leading to abusive partners, continuing the traumas threw my mother after my father had left, I have fybromyalgia, IBS , bad back , in constant pain.

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  7. We have worked with many people walking them through emotional and heart healing as well as releasing the weight of debt the trauma has set against them. There is a spiritual element to chronic illnesses, as we work beside doctors and keep a holistic/spiritual mindset we will see many many more find healing

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  8. Very interesting information. How ironic that Kaisar Permanente is my daughter’s insurer and she has been suffering with “non-epileptic absent stress seizures” since last June and the neurologist has her on an anti-seizure med, but, as part of the testing performed, she has done a one hour and a two hour sleep study, yet they studied 125K subjects to come up with this observation? Maybe she is their ‘125K and one’, I have always felt more and indepth testing should be done. I speak as a frustrated parent who feels helpless when veiwing my adult child going through the episodes. The irony in this! Glad others are being helped and more will be helped. Blessings to all.

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  10. i suffered trauma as a teenager and have a chronic illness now in adult hood so I was very interested in this story but my question is both my parents grew up as children in the war in UK and lived during a depresssion , saw things they don’t like to discuss and lived hard childhoods and do not have adult chronic illnesses

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    • Actually you be surprised how trauma from one generation shows in another. Look for the documentary call Ghost in the Genes: Epigenetics. Very informative.

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    • Maybe because the trauma of war is experienced by a group who are “in it together”. Maybe the support and common purpose they had made them even stronger. When you are alone or unsupported everything is tougher.

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  11. Wow, did this ever hit home. It wasn’t until I was in my early 60’s that I was finally diagnosed correctly; autoimmune – Hashimotos. The Naturopath had me list all the traumatic things, physical and psychological that happened to me in my life. It was pretty extensive. His comment was that my life read like a soap opera and it really did. Among many things; abusive alcoholic father, mother and father divorcing when I was 5, younger brother sent away for 2 years to dryer climate because of illness, reaction to OPV and development of Hypothyroidism, mother remarrying (wonderful man) and that step father murdered 12 years later, terrible allergies, decent into alcoholism and drug abuse, failed marriage, successful 2nd marriage, 4 children in 6 years, CFS, Fibro, hip replacement, etc, etc, etc. For the past 6 years my health has improved significantly from a Gluten free, modified vegetarian diet, supplements for damaged MTHFR gene, and medical Cannabis. Alopathic medicine was a big factor in destroying my health, and other than emergencies, I will never trust them or their meds, again.

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  12. The author expect from the medical system to compensate for the disfunctional community she has lived in. It is true that medical conditions are deeply connected to emotional experiences. However, this simple truth has been neglected by our “modern” society, in which medicine expertise are devided and no one is looking at the whole person anymore…

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  13. Thank you for addressing this neglected information in depth. Your message supports a quote I love (but sadly do not remember it’s author): “Childhood always plays itself out.”

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  16. Wow. This story made a lot of sense and has me thinking now… My sister was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and mgus, and she’s the first in our family.. I myself is being tested for lupus, which is another first in my family and I suffer from depression and anxiety. We both had something traumatic happen to us when we were children.

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  18. It is just now, after 28 years in education, that I have seen this study play out day after day with the students I work with…their parents and in some cases the teachers.
    Thanks to the innovative leadership at this high poverty elementary school, I have been introducing mindfulness to the school..and next year hope to expand to our community.
    I can hardly do anything else in my life since I have seen the impact Childhood trauma is having on our youngest. With every moment I have, I want to learn all I can in order to make a small difference in their script.
    I would be interested to learn of other avenues for learning more. Currently I have completed Mindfulness for Educators, Love and Logic, Conscious Discipline, star of Florida Exceptional Student Education certificate, yoga 200hr certificate , restorative practices for the nervous system and teaching how the brain works when under stress. I have been slowly talking to our faculty about the dangers of chronic stress since our population of students can take its toll on our faculty.
    I have recently had my Masters degree confirmed allowing me to take the required courses to sit for my BACB certification. I am not sure if that is the right path but want to continue to build my tool box to share with staff, students and parents. I am open to input on this before moving forward as well as information on future training resources I might get involved in.
    I currently work as a Behavior Specialist. When working with Children suffering already with great amounts of daily stress, we must all be “specialist” and I want to do my part.
    Melissa

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    • That is wonderful you want to make a big difference in student’s lives. It was with my diagnosis of cancer and the horrid chemo, that I finally got REAL help. I entered into psychotherapy with an excellent therapist and, with her help, worked my way through a childhood of PTSD. I am also a mandala artist and teacher and THAT kind of creative, expressive work has saved my life.

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    • Hi Melissa, have you heard about Somatic Experiencing? It’s a body-based trauma renegotiation therapy with a neurobiological and naturalistic focus. Dr Peter Levine describes how he developed the process in his seminal book, ‘Waking the Tiger’. Somatic Experiencing is founded on Stephen Porges’ brilliant PolyVagal theory, which expands on the concepts of ‘fight, flight and freeze.’ Dr. Levine realised that accessing those survival states (especially ‘freeze’) in a safe and contained way established the conditions for the organic self-protective movements that were thwarted at the time of the trauma to emerge for completion. The basic practitioner training is a wholly trauma-informed course, conducted over a three-year period. http://www.traumahealing.org

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  20. Yes, I experienced many childhood stressors. I fight depression through my belief and faith in Jesus Christ who gives me strength each day to live my life with hope and enjoy living.

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    • I have been referring and use for my own benefit to 2 types of Transformative Prayer (forms of process prayer) that are powerful, sound, and effective with permanent tangible results in ACEs related cases: “Immanuel” Process, Dr Karl Lehman (psychiatrist) and his team in Chicago, and TheoPhostic Prayer Ministry, (TPM) Dr Ed Smith (Pastoral Counselor). These are both used worldwide with documented results. Likewise, Dr Francis (Judith) MacNut team in Jacksonville, FL who participated in Dr Koenig (Duke Univ) research is another powerful approach with tangible results of international significance.
      GEO

      Liked by 1 person

    • Charlene Meisner,
      I posted above how I overcame trauma by the grace of Jesus Christ but did not leave the cause till the end. I copied it here —

      Overcoming Trauma
      I had many autoimmune diseases growing up — arthritis, narcolepsy, Henoch-Schonlein purpura, chronic fatigue… related to childhood trauma
      Roy Masters who started the Foundation of Human Understanding, helped me the most and helped many people.
      I fought to a place of everything going good in my life. When I got there a part of me that was terrified from childhood felt comfortable to come out in the form of a horrible depressed feeling. I observed it, using meditation I learned from Roy, for about 3 months until an almost car accident adrenalin rush made me aware the depressed feeling was identical to fear.
      As soon as I saw it was fear it tried to hide by pretending to go away. I continued to be on guard cause I did not know why it was there even though it seemed to go away. After another 3 months an incident made me aware it was a fear of abandonment from a specific set of childhood traumas. Seeing that changed me from the inside of my mind. I was never the same and got much stronger. I never retain fear for more than a day or 2 without confronting it since and it’s been over 12 years.

      Don’t try to be people’s savior. Give them the tools they need so they can find out on their own when they are ready. As a teen I walked out of psychotherapy cause a flash back to whooping cough and associated memories of how others dealt with anger caused me to feel like my head was stuffing up and I couldn’t breathe.

      “RECAPITULATION”
      An interesting thing — Freud (his bogus theories aside, he had some good observations) understood if one relived a trauma without fear or resentment they recovered from the symptoms it caused. Shamans also do something to free up trapped energy called “recapitulation”.
      While he lies about his personal history, Castaneda came up with an interesting method of recapitulation that makes sense to me.
      His alleged teacher had him make a list of everyone he knew starting in the present all the way to his parents. Once the list was made he was supposed to start with the first person and remember every detail about that person. Starting in the present hones the memory skills.

      What I like is it’s broad, not selective memory. At a certain point of honing the skills memories related to the present start to come up, slowly at first, of their own volition. I relive them and then jump back to the present a different person. It clears a path to an objective pre reacting natural inner sense part of me that is motivated by wonder and curiosity and restores my natural inner filter I lost through trauma.

      I think it is also related to a discovery I made about mankind in whole I posted at my blog http://www.backwardwalk.com/the-backward-walk/

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have not read the book yet but this is what I have been doing for the past 25 years: helping people to free themselves of their pain at all levels in 1 to 3 sessions! The trauma needs to be connected energetically not only mentally then the body recovers its state of balance! The subtitle of her book suggests to me that she knows of Caroline Myss’ work therefore I will be reading her book!

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    • Yes, there are specific methods used by therapists such Somatic Experience (SEP) pioneered by Peter Levine and Neuroaffective Relatational Model (NARM).

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    • Hi Laura,
      I have developed BodyMind Bridge; a highly effective method that guides people like your patients to heal from early traumas. I am located in Washington state, and also have long-distance sessions available over the phone. Where is your practice located?
      You can get a sense of my work at http://www.bodymindbridgeinstitute.com
      It would be wonderful to speak with you about this and learn how best we can serve the people you so obviously care about in your practice.

      Best,
      Shuna Morelli MS LMT CH
      Director, bodyMind Bridge Institute
      Steilacoom, WA 98388
      253-355-40654

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      • According to Bessel van der Kolk, EMDR does not work for early/prenatal developmental trauma and claims Neurofeedback works better. Sebern Fisher claims to be able to heal such people with many sessions of NF.

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    • I have been exposed to a type of therapy that allows a full release of stored trauma. It’s called Brainspotting. This type of processing allows the body to release the “freeze” response that happens when you can’t “fight or flight.” It was included in a study of those traumatized at Sandy Hook Elementary and found more helpful than all modalities that were studied. It brings hope to those of us suffering from childhood trauma and a healthy way to recover.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A kinesiologist can help clear or support physical and emotional trauma. It works specifically on flight/fight response, adrenal stress and hydration. It is amazing stuff.

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    • Yes, there are Somatic Experiencing therapists who have been trained in trauma renegotiation using a body-based neurobiological method that was developed by Dr. Peter Levine, about 45 years ago. Depending on your location, there are practitioner directories in North America, UK and Australia. http://www.traumahealing.org is the US website.

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      • A practitioner who has meta-health, Matrix reimprinting and EFT training is able to work with people who have traumas which stem from childhood and is now experiencing chronic illness.

        In North America, you could start by looking up husband & wife team, Alina Frank and Craig Weiner (http://www.tapyourpower.net) who are both trained in these disciplines.
        Or in the UK, Penny Croal (https://www.changeahead.biz).
        Or in Australia, http://efttraining.com.au/#about

        I know this, because I am an EFT & Matrix practitioner and aspirant meta-health practitioner. And having used these techniques on myself, as well as in my own clinic with people, here in New Zealand, as well as via Skype, I know firsthand how powerful & effective these techniques are.

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  21. We learned about this in massage therapy school. As massage therapists we have a lot of hands on time to work with our clients as opposed to doctors who have maybe 15 minutes with patients. We are taught to see the person as a whole – mind, body, and spirit and how our touch can affect all three. The body needs time in the parasympathetic (rest/digest/recover) phase to heal and re-energize. Staying in the sympathetic (fight/flight) state is detrimental to overall health and well-being. Massage can help with this. Perhaps we should work as a team more often with medical doctors prescribing other methods of healing rather than drugs, for a more holistic approach to healing patients.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have found that massage therapy is one of the best things for me. I was kid napped and the man attempted to rape me at age 14. Now at ge 54 I still recall that day with vivid memory and have fought depression and alcoholism my whole life. Please realize the struggle is real with young children being paralyzed by fear and not knowing how to deal with their emotions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy,
        I wrote a poem after i overcame fear and a fragmented childhood part of me was defragmented
        I Can’t Put My Finger On It
        When I did I fell through a hole
        I could breath under water
        But I didn’t come up till I got old
        I did a lot of things down there
        Perhaps I can tell about it when I come up for air
        After 40 years of crouching in fear

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  24. I hope this information reaches the Doctors in Sweden. I just read an article “The Apathetic” in the April 3rd New Yorker regarding a mysterious syndrome that is affecting refugee children. This could be the missing link.

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  25. This is a very interesting article and I believe there is much truth to it. The problem is that even as more understanding comes to light about how the mind/body and childhood trauma relate to health, we are simply continuing to put band-aides on festering wounds. Therapy, pills, and psycho-babble are not truly going to fix the major mental and emotional issues that plague society. The fact is our foundation of family, morality, and true spiritually continue to deteriorate in this nation (and really around the world) and we are paying the price for it. People have forgotten how to truly love and care for each other (including honoring commitments and vows) and the notion of God is relegated to being a nice fairytale.

    Add to this the incredible amount of stress placed on children these days-now more than ever. When I was growing up I might be involved in 1-2 activities at the most. Now children are involved in more sports, groups, and school activities than ever while still having to keep up with homework and other family obligations. Yes, such stress is surly a form of trauma too and will shape these kids into adulthood. Then they will move on to more stressful jobs or careers which will also impact their relationships and so on. Not to mention that stress/trauma also tends to cause people to make poor exercising and eating habits, contributing to physical decline as well.

    Is it any wonder why mental and emotional health have deteriorated the way it has? The solution (or rather solutions) are not going to be easy.

    Liked by 3 people

    • This is so true! I read a book years ago on this and since then I have seen how it absolutely correlates in peoples lives. I also came from childhood trauma and see how it affected me. I am going to try to get the book. I hope the doctors begin putting this all together. I hate seeing so many people medicated and addicted while the root of the problem never gets solved. It just creates more problems.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Angela,
      This is true. I have all kinds of psychobabble relating to how I healed from childhood trauma that leads back to many events but all the healing leads back to 2 events in my life and beyond my own life. The first event was reading the gospel and believing I could have eternal life through Christ. The 2nd was admitting to someone who asked why i was so happy and not using drugs any more that it was because I hoped in Jesus.

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  26. What a fantastic read. I have absolutely no doubt that early adversity and trauma in childhood affects us on a physical/physiological level as well as psychological. Indeed, the whole person has all these levels and we know that energetically everything is connected. Makes perfect sense to me. Validating a person’s early experiences is a beautiful invitation to open up and heal past emotional wounds in harmonious conjunction with the doctor’s treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Reblogged this on Life Going Down and commented:
    This piece is important and it resonates with me, but not because of health issues. Behavioural problems also stem from traumatic childhoods, and the fright/flight/freeze response precludes reflective processes. You can’t just ‘park’ your hurt and speed away from your own family problems without collateral damage to those left behind. What is left goes on.

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  28. The upside of facing trauma is that there are ways to heal now that genuinely work at the deepest level. Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique is one of them, as it its corollary, Matrix Reimprinting (Karl Dawson). In each case, there is excellent training available world wide, and thousands of practitioners to choose from. I’m glad that my years-long skepticism gave way to “well, we’ll see.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFKVVP8KXd4

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  29. I believe there is truth in this article. We are spiritual beings. How could a broken heart not be manifested physically? My trauma started when I was in my birth mother’s womb and I don’t remember a day on this planet that I have been free of either emotional pain or physical pain, I am now 50 years old. This is my year of reckoning with my Maker and what is being put in front of me is that I need to forgive. It is very hard. I do know that to forgive does not mean saying that what happened is okay. It was not. But what I have carried for so many years is not mine to carry. It never was. It is not who I was created to be. I want to do more than just survive. I want to thrive. I believe it is possible. It would be amazing if the medical community in the western world acknowledged the connection this article talks about between childhood trauma and lifelong chronic illness. It can be so shaming to deal with some doctors who think we are making it up. What I am learning is that I have yearned my whole life to be validated and acknowledged for what I went through. And I have been, as an adult woman, to some degree. And yet, until I learn how to give myself that validation, that yearning won’t go away. My heart, my body are literally crying out for it. And the biggest lesson of all for me is learning how to validate and honor myself. Part of this process is walking in forgiveness. For the offenders, and for myself. I see in my life where I resumed the destruction that they began. We are children of God and have been created to walk in an amazing destiny. When we honor our hearts, we walk in our destiny. I pray that the medical community would be more compassionate and wise as instruments of healing in our society. I pray that we will learn how to thrive, and walk in dignity. I pray that we will honor our hearts.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You just spoke my words. I also find myself in a fight or flight status at any loud noise or a sound that I wasn’t expecting, loud or not. I jump at anything like that, and no one understands why I do that…heck, I don’t know why I do that…or maybe, now I do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I truly understand your words .. I have healed at many levels finding along the way there is more and more to heal … finally a deep resentment arises that I was totally unaware of and that sits solidly and I find it impossible to dissolve. I think sometimes we can KNOW things like total forgiveness being required … but our adult self knowing is futile if there is an inner child that has absolutely no intention of forgiving the acts or childhood it suffered. How to soften that child, how to coerce her to let go. Many people suffer and suffer because this is truly NOT understood. Unfortunately many people profit from their pain.

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      • Can the inner child forgive if their soul is still fragmented? It’s a bunch of little pieces struggling to survive.

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    • Oh my God your article just opened my body mind and soul. It sounds like my life of nothing but trauma. I have suffered many dieases and have been paying a price my entire life. I endured incest, rape, mental abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, total denying of my being, I have been and still suffer from bipolar disorder which makes my life very unmanagable through those times, my challenges have been endless, I almost died 2 years ago from heart failure, but I survived it, I’m still here for a reason, it just can’t be to be tortured anylonger. living with mental illness is a nightmare, my Dad was truly bipolar and sufferred his entire life along with being an alcoholic, mom was very abusive, it’s too painful to go into details, but my soul has been injured. i truly deserve to be loved and love myself endlessly for being a survivor. i want to free the bond of the chains of my past, i was them to go away forever. can you help me, guide me to read a certain book possibly? I will be starting therapy next week for mindfulness, i pray i’m on the right track. I want a life of my own without suffering. thank you for your wise words of wisdom, how enlifhtening it was for me to read what you wrote. God bless you and namaste!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I score a 9/10 on ACES test. And
    I have suffered from autoimmune problems my entire adult life, always “ideopathic”. I found a method of transforming the trauma that works. Its called PSYCH-K. I have SO much to transform, it’s taking years of work but progress is being made.
    Thank you for this article.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I’ve been saying this for yrs. glad to see it in writing. My mother died when I was 15. I have cervical dystonia, chronic migraines and occipital neuralgia. My 2 brothers one older one younger that were at home during this time have had both knees replaced and a hip replacements while in their 50’s. And one has had a TIA at 53. My other 2 brothers who were out of the home when she died have none of these problems. I know they suffered tremendously when she died also but the trauma of living daily without a mother and squelching that pain down daily in order to function has to have an effect on your body.

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    • Update: My youngest brother just saw orthopedic dr for knee replacement. He’s 55. Dr stated worse case of arthritis he’s seen in knee for person his age. Will need a total knee replacement. He’s already had his hip replaced.

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  32. That’s because the government is not hiring counsellors in most government funded organisations. If they did these people would be helped.

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  35. This information must be taught to All doctors and health care providers. It’s an ethical crime that it’s not being taught to both students and active practioners. And it’s against common sense on all levels because not only can it help in healing the patient but it would also save health care cost substantially.

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  36. Could this be the same for me? My Dad got crushed by his JCB digger back in the 80,s and he nearly died. Just after i was 14 years old i was diagnosed with JA but then it changed to PA. Iam now 51 and have struggled with this condition. No one in my family has this condition and heard it could of been trauma and stress.

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  37. We have professionals who are experts in assessing and treating trauma. Mental health. If physicians discover trauma they need to refer, and where we live they do. Medication might help when it is for specific illnesses but it is not a substitute for skilled trauma treatment.

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    • At what $100/hour?!?! No, I don’t think the government should pay!! The cost should be reasonable and not an opportunity for a medical person to recoup their educational costs from their first 20 patients!!

      Like

    • The problem is that mainstream psychiatry is really not working. If it was, then people who go to therapists would recover, and most don’t. The method of bringing up past trauma and rehashing it over and over does not work.
      The medical system is in the dark ages when it comes to the knowledge of how spirituality and science really work. For instance, scientists have found that our bodies at the smallest particle are just suspended in energy. We are energy and light beings. If you compress our matter, you can put into the size of a golf ball. Energy and vibration is how the body works, it’s how the universe works. It’s the science of quantum physics that has been suppressed to keep us in a material world that only brings more and more suffering. I recommend the book by Liz McTaggart called “The Field”.. It shows that there are spiritual energy forces that are all around us and influence us. Bringing up the energy of the past does not do us good, it keeps those energies around us. What we need is to increase the vibration of our body to reduce trauma. When a person is happy, their cells vibrate very fast, like being in love. When a person is sick they have a low body frequency. Everything is energy. The psychiatric system will not do anything unless they get to the core of who we are. We are not material beings, we are energy. And that is what needs to be focused on, not the same ol’ nonsense of sitting there while they stare at you blankly and just repeat the same ol’ nonsense lines over and over “how does that make you feel”..now please pay me your weekly salary so i can do the same nothing for some other suffering sole. It’s energy and vibration! Quantum Mechanics! Bruce Lipton’s book proves there are spiritual energies that effect our cells. This is where we need to go to get out of the dark ages of Psychiatric B.S. nonsense and drugging of humans to make them compliant slaves to a system that is more like a prison for souls, enslaved in a financial hell. It’s time for the new era.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I found inner silence like Roy from the FHU teaches helps me be objective to my thoughts. If I want to find the source of the pain IMO recapitulation helps by making a list of everyone you can remember starting from the present going back to the past. When the list is done start with the first person and remember every detail you can about them. It’s a lot of work. This hones your memory skills but the inner silence/stillness helps you be objective to memories when they begin to rise on their own without your volition.

      Some pains I have from childhood but some are from lyme disease, however dealing with the first helps me deal with the second.

      Like

  38. This is a great article. Doctors should treat the whole person. It is very frustrating to be sick and test show there is nothing wrong with you. My favorite words of wisdom were just get over it. Once I took control of my well being and sought counseling I started to heal. Doctors are trained to give a pill which just masks the problem. I work in healthcare.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. You are missing one thing. Many autoimmune diseases are inherited in genes. They are only waiting for something to ignite them, if they are not active at the moment when you are young.
    The stress, traumas and missfortune in life can make you sick, along with some bad genes.

    Like

    • You might be interested in the research done involving “generational trauma.” In short, severe trauma permanently alters our genes. And these are passed on to offspring. We are carrying our parents trauma in our genes. The more severe the trauma, the more generations are affected. It’s fascinating stuff. I work in Mental Health, and am still amazed at new research.

      Liked by 2 people

  40. You had written “irritable bowel disease” which infuriates our community. It’s INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE! The other is IRRITABLE Bowel Syndrome, or IBS.

    Like

    • Educate, don’t alienate. Yelling at someone is quite abrasive especially if you want sympathy for your condition… I suffer from inflammatory bowel disease as well and would never correct someone in the manner you chose.

      Like

  41. My whole life has been a never ending nightmare. Even everything I dream all night every night. No matter how I try I can’t escape it or make it better. I’ve been chronically ill for about 25 years and I have to put up with accusations about that too. I have a lot of compassion for people who have the same or similar.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I have no doubt that my mother died of humiliation. Won’t go into the story, but I had an autopsy done and no cause of death could be found. Circumstances before her death would have left her feeling publically humiliated in a small southern town.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. These findings are the foundation of the CranioSacral work Dr. John Upledger developed, used and teaches to help people heal.
    Traumatic experiences stored in the body, even as an adult, lead to illness.
    As a CranioSacral Therapist it is a part of the treatment to blend and meld with the patient and facilitate the release process. Sometimes it is complete, sometimes it goes in stages, depending on the persons state.
    It does not make the trauma undone, but it releases the emotional attachment and allows the patient to feel very different about the situation. I am forever grateful for being part of this team.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello,
      It has been just over four years since I was diagnosed with “Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” or CPTSD. I was diagnosed with CPTSD because of the abuse I endured during my childhood. And what compounded the problem was that I had no escape from the situation I was “living” in at home.
      I have a scar on my left hand from when my mother put my arm through the wringer of a washing machine.
      I was four years old and I screamed so loud that the neighbor next door came to our house, looked at me.
      I don’t think he even bothered to ask what happened. He just put me and my so-called mother in the car and drove us to the Doctor. I can remember this like yesterday, because even today, it is played in my head hundreds of times “everyday.”
      The Doctor’s name was Dr. Ben Schwarts and as he was sewing up my hand I was screaming, “mommy done this, mommy done this.” Now please ask yourself, “Why would a four year old even be saying that if it wasn’t true?” When the Doc was done his sew-up job, he put me in her arms and told her, “Keep it clean and bring him back in ten days to remove the stitches.”
      Now you may think this is a one time incident and I wish I could tell you that is was, but I cannot. You see it wasn’t just the physical abuse that’s at issue here. All my life, not once did my mother tell me she lived me, or give me a hug. Not once did she say good job or that she was proud of anything I done. The only form of any encouragement I ever got from my mother was when she used to say to me. “You’re going to be a no-good drunken bum, just like your father.” I suppose her vision came through because what happened to me and what it done to me, took me to places no human out to go and very few make it out alive.
      All my life all I want was just to try and have a “normal” mother son relationship. It was never to happen, even to this day, I live with the terror of what happened to me.
      When I got Annie at the end of November of 2012 the first thing I done was put her in the car and went to see my brother in Vancouver. He is my older brother by eight years and he is also a R.C.Priest. I went there to ask him one question and one question only.The question was, “Was it my fault?” He said to me, “How could it have been your fault, you were four years old.”
      I wanted to ask another question, but I knew I would have never gotten a honest answer. That question was, “Why didn’t you do anything?” But I didn’t want to place any blame on anybody else. When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was told that my mental disorder went untreated and undiognose for over 50 years.
      I lived and live my life on the razor’s edge, I was and and still am afraid to live and scared to die and I still live like that to this day.
      In closing I want to say, I see abuse everywhere. I see it in traffic, I see it in stores, in restaurants, I see it with employers with their staff. I see it with people and the pets they claim to love and I even see it with people and the materialistic possessions they worked so hard to acquire. But most of all I see it with parents and their children.
      People talk about “triggers” like we ought to try and avoid them or we should expect people to warn us of this. I can tell you that my life is a trigger as I see abuse even as I go through the Tim Horton’s Drive Thru at five in the morning. And that is only one example of many of the triggers I live with everyday.
      I will be the last person to ever say that someone’s PTSD may be worse or more severe than somebody else’s condition. But I will say this, I do not have any memory of anybody really loving me.
      The closest I could find of anybody loving me was my wife and even then, I wonder in it was love. Deep down inside I think it was more understanding than love.
      Maybe because I don’t really know what love is.
      Now I have a service dog trying to teach me not only what love is, but also how to try and live the rest of this life full of the triggers that haunt my mind.
      The one thing in that hits my brain like a hot knife is, “The alternative is that child is a prisoner in his own home” for only a child that lived or survived the horrors of a home fueled by abuse could ever know the true meaning of those words.
      “We ought never criticize the things we do not understand. But rather, let us try to understand those that criticize. There just may be a reason they see things just a little different.”
      Les R. Landry
      * PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE MY STORY AND I HOPE IT MAY HELP SOMEONE…

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’m so sorry! No child should ever have to go through what you did. I also felt unloved by my mother, and that affects me in my relationships with other people. I can never have a normal relationship, even friendship. I’m 74. I hope you find a way to heal the damage your mother did. I’ll think of you often. I’m not religious so I don’t pray for people, but I believe people can send energy to others, no matter how far away. So I’ll be thinking about you and I hope you get some peace from that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Les I had that kind of a mother too. It took so long to undo at least some of what she did to me. I have few words to contribute right now because I’m so tired. I’m almost always tired. Anyway I think you have high standards. People who don’t have high standards don’t really like that except when you are applying it to things you do for them. Hopefully our next life makes up for this one.

        Like

      • Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry you have lived this experience. Yes, I too see so much abuse everywhere and I know things could and should be different. We are strangers but I am sending you some love.💜

        Like

      • I’m so sorry Les. I’m a retired physician and it infuriates me that you were failed by that ignorant man who stitched up your arm so many years ago, and by everyone else since. I’ve witnessed horrific abuse in my professional and personal life. I’m glad that you have a service dog; I believe you will find great comfort there. I’ve suffered from depression myself and my dogs have saved me. Someone said a dog is the only creature who will love you more than himself. I think it’s true.
        May God bless you. I’ll remember you in my prayers.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hello Les … you have my deepest sympathy .. as a suffer myself I wrote a paper called “Why people hate their own Children” … even the title says it all. They are so disconnected from all that is good .. they become spiteful, cruel monsters. Finding a spiritual path helps .. many wise people along the way guide you and indeed do it with full understanding and love.

        Like

  44. Pingback: Chilhood Trauma & Lifelong Illness – Daya- Coaching For Life

  45. Wow, this sounds like my son! He has ADDISONS disease. He has never been sick a day in his life until 16 but carried the world on his shoulders! He worried and stressed about everything!

    Like

  46. Oh boy , I would be a perfect candidate for case study on this….Here I have been thinking, lately, that I need to go to Rapid Eye Therapy now. I am 76 years old & still suffering.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. This was a devastating read, but a very important one. Ms. Nakazawa is absolutely right. Right now, medicine’s two main concerns are controlling “undesirable” people and raking in the bucks. Neglect this massive can’t possibly be explained by the unpredictable trajectory of “developing medical breakthroughs”. It’s good to see that some clinicians are FINALLY studying more of what they *really* need to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Pingback: Trauma informed | Out of the Rabbit Hole

  49. I too have been diagnosed with ptsd, high anxiety disorder and many other things, like Karen my mother never liked me and our dad left us so I never knew the love of a parent, My mom lied about me because my step-dad molested me and then I got In to very abusive relationship..was beaten and guns shot at me for 5 yrs. I’m on medication and am trying to get off of all of it but talking about it makes me have nite mares, I’m 60 with three children and a wonderful husband now but I’m never happy or confident and go overboard to love my kids . Since my mom past away I’ve become the mother to all 6 of my siblings but we don’t discuss my past because it’s to hard for them to acknowledge our mom treated me that way and everyone new it.. I long for a feeling of peace and likeing myself , I sometimes wonder if my mom looks down on me and is sorry!! I did have a wonderful friend that loved me so much and she passed away 8 mos ago.. I’ve never been a Cryer but cry almost everyday for her.. I would love to be able to say these things to someone but I cant..

    Liked by 4 people

    • Life is a test difficult to go trough alone .Most people realise late how mother’s play an important role in there life.A mother is the back bone of life .Yes not many people will find d the support they need once loved one is gone.I wish you strength and luck in your life to live the best possible.God bless. Jamila

      Liked by 1 person

    • vvSo sorry to hear this Linda, I would highly advise u to seek out an EFT practitioner in your area, it will change the rest of your life for the better.

      Like

    • I’m so sorry, Linda. 😦 My heart goes out to you. God cares about the oppressed. (Psalms). I do hope you can feel some peace and comfort.

      Like

    • yes i relate to this totally.i had anxiety, chronic allergies, irritable bowel, Post traumatic stress disorder from childhood trauma. im very grateful i do not experience these things any more.I experienced receivng bodytalk sessions to release the root causes behind imbalances on all levels.It released my anxiety, emotions held in body, released generational trauma and trauma at a genetic level and worked on my brain releasing the trauma from there.I was so impressed by it i studied it myself and became a certified bodytalk practioner 2004.I have been working with people all over the world dealing and releasing their childhood trauma and issues.
      please feel free to contact me as i expereinced childhood trauma and have moved through a lot of these isses using bodytalk
      http://infinitebodytalk.net/index.html

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda..Im sorry for all your pain and suffering. I can relate a lot. I was adopted at birth (my Dad rejected my Mother’s pregnancy and she felt unable to be able to be raise my as a single mom). I was adopted in to a home (in Canada at birth 1969) that i supposed appeared ideal but if the Govt would have searched further would have found it was the opposite. My adopted Mom’s dad died at 4 and her mother remarried a rapist. She was raped until contracting polio a yr before a vaccine was found. My adopted Father was an actual product of a rape. Needless to say when i was a young girl my Adopted Mother wanted to further her education and took child psychology at night school. This was when he came in to my room before bedtime and take my hand and this is when the abuse happened. He made me touch him. After he would make me get a rag and put it in the laundry. I was helpless to tell. I didnt want to hurt my Mom. I knew how much he meant to her. The anger inside me know comes from the adult me (im 48) knowing how he duped me and my Mom. I wish i could go back and stick a stick in his eye and run. I wish i could hurt him but i cant. At age 21 i was very sick with an eating disorder and ulcerative colitus. I felt i could die. I still couldnt tell my Mom but i could tell her how i felt scared and thought i might die. I hung up and she pressed my Dad and he admitted to hurting me sexually. I then pressed charges with the RCMP. He was charged and finally admitted to what he did. He received 3 months in jail. Apparently only 1% of actual child sexual offenders in Canada will actually do jail time. Another victimization. Im finally able to talk with my family doctor about things in my childhood. I feel she is beginning to understand the relationship between childhood and my disease. This article also confirms my belief in the fact that childhood trauma is in fact stored inside of us but if we can keep expressing ourselves and have people genuinely care it can make a massive difference. Your not alone. I feel your pain too and i care. Im also seeing a therapist who is trained in eating disorders and was just in LA at a conference on this very article. I have a huge amount of hope that in our lifetime things will change for the better and we can all be safe. The feeling of powerlessness will become obsolete. Times are changing…We have hope…and most of all Im so sorry and u arent alone in this…Angelique, Canada

      Liked by 3 people

  50. Pingback: Rheumatoid Awareness Day: What Causes RA / RD?, Links, and Stories of Recovery - Tumbling the Stone

  51. Reblogged this on Good Parenting at Every Stage and commented:
    When I was twelve, I was coming home from swimming at my neighbor’s dock when I saw an ambulance’s flashing lights in our driveway. I still remember the asphalt burning my feet as I stood, paralyzed, and watched the paramedics take away my father. It was as if I knew those flashing lights were a harbinger that my childhood was over.

    At the hospital, a surgeon performed “minor” elective bowel surgery on my young dad. The surgeon made an error, and instead of my father coming home to the “welcome home” banners we’d painted, he died.

    The medical care system failed my father miserably. Then the medical care system began to fail me.

    Like

  52. This is disturbing… Is this not what a “DO” would be specifically “in tune” to recognise due to the to the training they receive v.s. “MD”?

    Like

  53. What if people began to do their own research and started taking control of their own health to a much larger degree? And what if the FDA began to research and provide their citizens with good and effective treatments that are not pharmaceutical based (there are many)? The truth is, that there really are no incentives to try to save health dollars. In fact, I believe that the opposite is true. Our whole medical system is based on making money…..not on doing what is necessarily correct.
    Good article!! I am living proof that childhood abuse leads to adult illness in many many forms.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Greg, I’m sorry to hear that you are unwell. However, I’m also heartened that you take a positive approach to this problem.

      For one, you ask “What if people began to do their own research and started taking control of their own health to a much larger degree?” The good news here, of course, is social media via the internet, which has made such research – and even advocacy – possible for many of us. But many people – perhaps still a majority – don’t have the resources to do likewise, so those of us that can do so are in a great position to help the others as well as ourselves.

      For another, you suggest that the FDA research non-pharmaceutical treatments. This does already happen, but funding remains a major issue that prevents its growth. Then again, there are many competing claims as to what kinds of treatment may be effective. A sensible plan of attack would be to run a set of well-designed studies to screen the different approaches, then follow up with studies focussed on the most effective candidates. Doing so would let us all know whether some approaches should be abandoned, and get the best value for the money spent – public money on further research, private money on personal treatments.

      More negatively, you note that making money is now paramount in the medical system, and sadly, I must agree. Over the course of several decades, I’ve seen many changes in the people who practice medicine, from family doctors to specialists, to nurses and pathology technicians, to radiographers and mothercare nurses. On the whole, our doctors are ever more pressed for time; each medical discipline demands increasingly complex skills; and resources often follow the path of greatest profit for pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations. In my experience, those best able to truly practice medicine with proper care and attention are those who have a secure salaried job with fixed hours – and no revenue targets to meet. For the truly outstanding health care worker – maybe the top five percent – the money doesn’t matter, just the caring. But for the rest, job security and working conditions need to improve, so that they will be able to find a more rewarding career in providing the best care they can.

      I hope you will be able to continue your research to help yourself – and others too!

      Yo

      Like

  54. Pingback: Article: Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness - HowToTap.com - HowToTap.com

    • Hi, Barbara,
      If you are not already aware of this, IBS is a direct result of an imbalance in the gut biome where there is an imbalance in positive/negative gut bacteria, which can end up in an inflamed intestinal lining that can allow undigested food into the rest of the body – triggering unwanted immune responses.
      While you can treat and heal your present IBS with probiotics to re-balance the bacteria and take natural supplements and foods to heal the gut lining, stress and trauma play a huge role in causing this imbalance over time and must be addressed as a core issue. The good news is that this is reversible.

      Liked by 1 person

  55. Great article. Yet, is there any source on the number of the ACES study being replicated?
    1500 seems a bit high and I didn’t find any information supporting that number.
    I’d be grateful for the information.

    Like

  56. So are you saying the cure came from a physicisn acknowledging your trauma? I find that hard to believe… I do believe that trauma causes life long inflamation… I experience it daily. But what is the answer to treating this?

    Like

  57. I too, had extreme childhood trauma from my mother that hated me and let me and everyone around know it. She told me horrible things, like she should have flushed me down the toilet when she had the chance. At 61 I still have memories and talk about it, though no one seems to care. I suffer from depression, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and am in disability because of the severe pain and sciatica that I suffer with everyday. Crying has become a daily thing in my life as I always wonder “why my mother hated me so much.

    Like

    • Hi Karen, I’m so sorry to hear o your trauma, I wondered if you would consider kinesiology. Kinesiology is an energetic based science which treats the body in a wholistic manner and gets into the neurological system to directly release stress stored there – including childhood trauma and ancestral stress. It is gentle and the most effective treatment I know of in existence today. Kinesiologists can be found by googling on ‘Natural Therapies’ website. Best regards, Judith

      Liked by 1 person

    • An open love letter to your inner child

      By Alison.

      To the child who couldn’t understand
      why nobody could understand,
      To the one whose hand was never taken,
      whose eyes were never gazed into by
      an adult who said,
      “I love you.
      You are a miracle.
      You are holy,
      right now and
      forever.”

      To the one who grew up in the realm of “can’t,”
      To you who lived “never enough.”
      To the one who came home to no one there, and
      there but not home.

      To the one who could never understand why she was being hit.
      To the one whose innocence was unceremoniously stolen.
      To the one who fought back.
      To the one who shattered.
      To the never not broken one.
      To the child who survived.

      To the one who was told she was
      sinful, bad, ugly.

      To the one who didn’t fit.
      To she who bucked authority
      and challenged the status quo.

      To the one who called out
      the big people for
      lying, hiding and cruelty.

      To the one who never stopped loving
      anyway.

      To the child that was forbidden to need.

      To the ones whose dreams were crushed
      by adults whose dreams were crushed.

      To the one whose only friend
      was the bursting, budding forest.
      To the ones who prayed to the moon,
      who sang to the stars in the secrecy of the night
      to keep the darkness out.
      To the child who saw God
      in the bursting sunshine of
      dandelion heads
      and the whispering
      clover leaf.

      To the child of light who cannot die,
      even when she’s choking
      in seven seas of darkness.

      To the one love
      I am and you are.

      You are holy.
      I love you.
      You are a miracle.
      Your life,
      your feelings
      your hopes
      and dreams-
      they matter.

      Somebody failed you but you will not fail.
      Somebody looked in your eyes and saw the sun blazing, and got scared.
      Somebody broke your heart but your love remains perfect.
      Somebody lost their dreams and thought you should too,
      but you mustn’t.

      Somebody told you
      that you weren’t
      enough
      or too much,
      but you are
      without question
      the most perfect
      and holy creation
      of God’s own hands.

      Liked by 2 people

  58. I’ve had my share of illnesses for sure. I grew up in an extremelt abusive and neglectful home. I’m wondering if there’s something we can do to reduce the risk of more serious illnesses in the future.

    Like

  59. Pingback: Do you Know your ACE Score? | Redhead Ranting

  60. Pingback: The Limits of Mind Body Medicine for Many with Chronic Illness - Tumbling the Stone

  61. This was a light globe moment for me to read. I was also let down by the system and told my guillian barre syndrome was me trying to get attention. That my mind was telling my body not to move to the point my lungs completely collapsed and I was airlifted and on a breathing machine paralyzed from the neck down.

    I have also had childhood trauma and been diagnosed with complex post traumatic stress disorder and adhd. Reading so many similar stories and diagnosis amazes me. Why are doctors not onto this or do the pharmaceutical companies just want to keep us ill and keep drs rich and happy?

    I know a psychiatrist/psychotherapist that would find this a very interesting read.

    Like

  62. Sadly so much of what you have experienced and written is all to common.
    My experiences as a nurse lead me to investigate,research and seek more into the effect of trauma and emotions.
    But because I don’t have a medical or psyche degree I had been considered a twit with my findings.
    Finally “science” is catching up but not the staunch medical professions. And if there is a hint of “catch up” their only answer is shocking meds and pointless counselling.
    Thankyou for sharing your story. May you have happy healthy years ahead.

    Like

  63. Pingback: Past Trauma: Can Aromatherapy Help? – ounces of prevention

  64. Both my parents were narcissists. I experienced lots of emotional trauma every day. I lived in fear, anxiety, depression and a great deal of anger. I developed Fibromyalgia at 40 and my body is now consumed with osteoarthritis. I have 3 stents in my heart. Today I need to keep chaos at bay or I will crash and burn. Thank you

    Liked by 3 people

  65. I have actually been drawing this conclusion with my own childhood, which I feel was practically non-existent due to numerous traumatic situations and illness. I’m hypervigilant and have gotten so used to being in fight flight or freeze…..I don’t know any different. Currently seeing 3 different psychotherapists to deal with the different issues involved to finally be myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Pingback: How Your Childhood Stress May Still Be Making You Sick In Adulthood | MyCounterpane

  67. All suffering unless responded to will cause dis-ease in the body. All shamanic medicine people know and treat this. Western medicine has a lot to learn from those ancient practices. It’s a shame it takes a lifetime of hurt and pain for someone to listen and bear witness to our healing.
    Acknowledge and accept love heals all ills. Namaste

    Liked by 2 people

  68. I am aware that childhood trauma can follow us for all of our lives. This is only a small part of all that goes on with chronic pain issues no matter the diagnosis. Doctors just do not know answers. It is mostly best guesses. I have done everything the psychological world had to offer in the end, I am still suffering with severe pain with no real answers. Trauma happens all of our lives. It adds layers. Some get stronger from it some break. I am stronger mentally, but not physically. Until January I was walking 10 miles a day three days a week, minimum. Now, I can barely circle the block. This is a good thing for those that have not considered this option; however, in the end, there is a reason why the pain persists for so bad for so long. I finally lost interest in the field of Psychology. I went so far as to work towards my Masters in Thanatology from a Psychological Perspective. Once i realized that the field is full of regular people that do their best to help figure out the best next move when problem solving. I am already very good at this. I am not however good at dealing with the chronic pain. I am still moving, but not as much. I miss the heck out of walking. I am terrified of Doctors now. I feel mostly without hope as to what the medical field can offer a patient like me at this time. To many people are dying from overdosing on prescription cocktails for pain. 20 in my area since January. There are no real answers. You for offering this to people that have not thought of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Abigail,

      I couldn’t agree with you more about the inability of physicians to help people with chronic pain. Been there. Done that. Became aggressively self-educated in my care/health factors and am doing well, thank goodness.

      If I’d left it up to the rheumatologists, etc., I’d have lost all mobility years ago. Very scary.

      It’s easy to understand why people fall for quackery and snake-oil, because IN GENERAL physicians do not understand the complex metabolic challenges that can thwart our good health.

      I wish you all the best in your recovery.

      Gina

      Liked by 1 person

    • Abigail, please read Dr. John Sarno’s book, Healing back pain, the mind body connection and go to TMSwiki.org. This might help with your chronic pain.

      Like

  69. Crazy illuminating article… Probably diagnosed my life and Mothers Murder on my birthday and nervous breakdown later that year and subsequent problems with health, addiction and stage 4 cancer. PTSD and compulsive disorders. Thank you. Finally.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Blessings your way, and know that you’ve always got a guardian angel on your shoulder. Thank you for posting. I have also experienced childhood traumas, but not nearly as devastating as yours. I’ve had chronic pain, addiction, etc. as a result. Be gentle and generous with yourself.

      Like

  70. Pingback: Free eBook: The Chronic Illness and Trauma Connection - Tumbling the Stone

  71. I have Severe Rheumatiod Arthritis a very expensive, limiting disease. Yes, lots of Childhood Trauma; won’t detail it here, but I do believe this article.

    Like

  72. Hello,
    It has been just over four years since I was diagnosed with “Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” or CPTSD. I was diagnosed with CPTSD because of the abuse I endured during my childhood. And what compounded the problem was that I had no escape from the situation I was “living” in at home.
    Now most people have heard of PTSD but allot of people have not heard of CPTSD. Less people understand what CPTSD is or even what causes it. PTSD is different that CPTSD in how it is caused and the effects it has on the individual.
    Here is a excerpt from an interesting article of CPTSD;
    “Complex post-traumatic stress disorder describes the long-term effects of severe, prolonged or repeated trauma, particularly due to child abuse or domestic violence. This has a wide range of effects on personality, identity, memory, mood change and emotional regulation.
    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition caused by severe, life-threatening trauma such as witnessing a death or natural disaster.
    Complex PTSD describes a more severe and long-term condition that can occur after prolonged and repeated trauma, particularly in childhood. Trauma can cause problems with memory, and disrupt the development of a person’s identity and the ability to control emotions and form relationships with others.”
    I have a scar on my left hand from when my mother put my arm through the wringer of a washing machine.
    I was four years old and I screamed so loud that the neighbor next door came to our house, looked at me.
    I don’t think he even bothered to ask what happened. He just put me and my so-called mother in the car and drove us to the Doctor. I can remember this like yesterday, because even today, it is played in my head hundreds of times “everyday.”
    The Doctor’s name was Dr. Ben Schwarts and as he was sewing up my hand I was screaming, “mommy done this, mommy done this.” Now please ask yourself, “Why would a four year old even be saying that if it wasn’t true?” When the Doc was done his sew-up job, he put me in her arms and told her, “Keep it clean and bring him back in ten days to remove the stitches.”
    Now you may think this is a one time incident and I wish I could tell you that is was, but I cannot. You see it wasn’t just the physical abuse that’s at issue here. All my life, not once did my mother tell me she lived me, or give me a hug. Not once did she say good job or that she was proud of anything I done. The only form of any encouragement I ever got from my mother was when she used to say to me. “You’re going to be a no-good drunken bum, just like your father.” I suppose her vision came through because what happened to me and what it done to me, took me to places no human out to go and very few make it out alive.
    All my life all I want was just to try and have a “normal” mother son relationship. It was never to happen, even to this day, I live with the terror of what happened to me.
    When I got Annie at the end of November of 2012 the first thing I done was put her in the car and went to see my brother in Vancouver. He is my older brother by eight years and he is also a R.C.Priest. I went there to ask him one question and one question only.The question was, “Was it my fault?” He said to me, “How could it have been your fault, you were four years old.”
    I wanted to ask another question, but I knew I would have never gotten a honest answer. That question was, “Why didn’t you do anything?” But I didn’t want to place any blame on anybody else. When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was told that my mental disorder went untreated and undiognose for over 50 years.
    I lived and live my life on the razor’s edge, I was and and still am afraid to live and scared to die and I still live like that to this day.
    In closing I want to say, I see abuse everywhere. I see it in traffic, I see it in stores, in restaurants, I see it with employers with their staff. I see it with people and the pets they claim to love and I even see it with people and the materialistic possessions they worked so hard to acquire. But most of all I see it with parents and their children.
    People talk about “triggers” like we ought to try and avoid them or we should expect people to warn us of this. I can tell you that my life is a trigger as I see abuse even as I go through the Tim Horton’s Drive Thru at five in the morning. And that is only one example of many of the triggers I live with everyday.
    I will be the last person to ever say that someone’s PTSD may be worse or more severe than somebody else’s condition. But I will say this, I do not have any memory of anybody really loving me.
    The closest I could find of anybody loving me was my wife and even then, I wonder in it was love. Deep down inside I think it was more understanding than love.
    Maybe because I don’t really know what love is.
    Now I have a fricken service dog trying to teach me not only what love is, but also how to try and live the rest of this life full of the triggers that haunt my mind.
    The one thing in that hits my brain like a hot knife is, “The alternative is that child is a prisoner in his own home” for only a child that lived or survived the horrors of a home fueled by abuse could ever know the true meaning of those words.
    “We ought never criticize the things we do not understand. But rather, let us try to understand those that criticize. There just may be a reason they see things just a little different.”
    Les R. Landry

    Liked by 4 people

    • You wrote a beautiful and heartfelt message. What you went through didn’t stop you from being a loving and kind person. Good luck with training your service dog! You’re doing some good in the world. That’s wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to hear of all the abuse you suffered. And I’m also sorry you haven’t felt you were ever loved. Your mother obviously suffered from some mental illness as well perhaps she had a lot of trauma from her childhood and/or your father, hence the alcoholic statement. There are strangers to you in this world that love you even though we won’t ever meet you. God loves you as well and I pray you will believe that. He has more live and understanding for us than we know. And your brother may have been abused himself and as a child although older than you he was probably scared to help. I don’t know I can only guess and try to have an understanding perspective. Back in that time doctors didn’t get involved and it’s heartbreaking to me to picture you as a child crying and no one helping save you. What we experience shapes us as adults and some things just aren’t fair. There are questions as to why this happened and although I don’t have the answers I do know you are loved. God does love you and I would guess your wife did/does too and your dog as well. Hold on to the light and positivity that good can come out of the suffering and pain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robin Riha wrote: “There are strangers to you in this world that love you even though we won’t ever meet you.”

        Believe it!

        And I think you probably need this:
        🙂 🙂 🙂

        Like

    • I had a difficult time reading your post and I appreciate your courage in writing it. I was diagnosed with PTSD 4 years ago, but couldn’t accept it. My therapist just recently revealed to me the “complex” part only because he knew I was finally ready to handle it. I can certainly relate to much of what you said. I am currently studying to be a child therapist specializing in trauma. I figure if I can help at least one child avoid a lifetime of suffering then my experiences will have meaning. I, too, have a dog for therapeutic purposes. She will eventually help me with the children, but for now she is teaching me and preparing me to accept the truth of my “forgotten” past.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Les,
      Your story is very touching! I am so sorry you went through so difficult times! As the others commented, it is amazing to acknowledge how you made it and what a brave heart you have.
      I am not sure if you are interested but I wanted to share the form of therapy that helped me the most with trauma- it is called Somatic Experiencing.
      http://traumahealing.org/

      I am grateful that are people like you in the world with the heart so big!

      Liked by 1 person

  73. And a big key to healing this is so simple and we own it. A deep belly breath, with the diaphragm expanded, automatically shuts down fight or flight and brings in the parasympathetic nervous system. It is like a physical light switch that diaphragm muscle. Our bodies own bottle of Prozac as I like to say. Even if the mind is racing with stressful Thoughts, the bodies hormones are relaxed, and at peace. The deep breath deep breath deep breath

    Liked by 4 people

    • Of course, there ARE things we can do, and thank you! for offering this simple remedy. Such healthy practices can go _part_ of the way to regaining control of our lives – especially if we practice them for about three weeks, when they almost automatically become good habits.

      We often forget the good advice we hear – and why is that? Because, especially since the Communications Revolution wrought by the Internet and social media, we are _flooded_ with so much advice that we’re drowning in it! One of the hardest things to learn is to read (and listen) critically. But there are some simple rules that help:

      1. Can it hurt? If yes, then weigh the risk before taking the advice.
      2. Does it make sense? If not, don’t be silly.
      3. Who profits? If it’s only the reader, that’s a good sign you’re not being used.
      4. Is it real? Look for evidence – Google is your friend!

      Your advice passes these tests. 🙂

      Like

  74. As an adult who suffered Childhood trauma I found this article extremely enlightening! Thank you, it explains and helps me to understand my adult anxiety and constant health issues!

    Like

  75. I’d be much more interested to find out why those of us who didn’t get sick are different. I too was sexually abused, my parents divorced when I was 7, my father died when I was 13, my mother went through many men that beat her in front of us, and at the age of 16 she left me to fend for myself. I turned out fine, I’m probably the most emotionally healthy person that I know, no depression, no mood swings, never had PMS, never taken any medication and at 53 I’ve never had any major health problems. So, what makes me and those like me different?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a good question, and people who do research into where resilience comes from are looking into it. One of the major ways that a child who experiences ACEs gets through and thrives is that, at some point in that child’s life, s/he had a caring adult to count on. It could be a relative, a teacher, a neighbor, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  76. Oh my I have lived with all kinds of things Dr’s can’t explain miagraine,sores, anemia,Raynards,joint pain,broken bones, Cooms antibody , being sick with flu like symptoms for days, depression. This is just part of it. I grew up in a very bad home environment my dad was abusive to my mom we were poor my dad went to prison for bootlegging my granny was an alcoholic it was awful.

    Like

  77. Thank you for this article. I am wondering if there are ways to prevent future illness? My husband recently passed away from a short but brutal battle with cancer and I worry for my 4 children (ages 12 – 22). It has been extremely traumatic for all of them. How can I help them prevent this trauma from contributing to future illness?

    Like

      • Somatic Therapy helps children with tramua as does yoga and meditation. Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing by Peter Levine is an outstanding book. Your love and compassion for your children, and your awareness of their trauma are gateways to health and healing for all of you. Best wishes for happiness!

        Like

    • Hello Morgan,
      My heart goes out to you and your family. I am sorry to hear of your husband’s battle with cancer. I believe buried feelings never go away and affect every cell in our body. I don’t want to alarm you, just want to make you aware. You already may know this but unresolved grief is the worst to bury. I would be happy to speak with you about grief and how to help your kids or what to look for in terms of possible adverse affects of the trauma they went through. You can contact me at 716-800-9363 or email me at paulcartone@live.com.

      Like

  78. This resonates with my story … I would have been 11 when my Dad who at the time was sitting up in bed struggling to breathe said “I’m going to die”. I recall being engulfed in fear, I didn’t say a word and left his room. Some time later I became unwell with what later developed into Rheumatoid Arthritis. I didn’t experience ‘flight’ or ‘fight’, I ‘froze’, and the pattern of this in my musculoskeletal system still prevails to this day 55+ years later.

    Like

    • HI Ellie,

      I can’t imagine how traumatizing that was for you. 😦

      While acknowledging the traumatic experience is important, so it acknowledging the physiological experience. Because that also might point the way to healing.

      For example, any shock to the system—emotional shock or a physical shock such as a car accident or surgery (which of course can create emotional trauma as well)—can drain the body of the critical mineral, magnesium.

      It should be routine that anyone who undergoes a shock of any type, especially when there is physical injury, be given magnesium supplement. Probably also B vitamins, which support the nervous system.

      Magnesium relaxes muscles, among hundreds of other enzymatic processes that are vital to good health.

      Most Americans are deficient, having far too much calcium from a high-dairy diet. The two minerals work jointly, in balance.

      So, many of us are on the edge of trauma all the time. From a baseline magnesium deficiency made worse by shock.

      Good luck to you,
      g

      Like

  79. I’m one of those who has just read this and recognized that experiences in my childhood still trail after me today, like small ghosts.
    Now I’m going to go face them. Thank you!

    Like

  80. I have been giving massages to people for a long time. Last year in August I learned about Essential Oils and began to use them. I learned that most pains and aches are associated with emotions. Once we learn what emotion is causing certain pain we use the right oil that will help people to release the toxins they built up because of that. It is amazing how it works. Since September of last year I have seen almost 300 people. Every one of them left pain free. That include people with migraine, back pain, knee pain, stomach problems, liver issues, numbness on hands and legs, sinus, sciatic,etc
    So many people have been treated with prescription drugs and were still in pain. We take enough time to talk about emotions, childhood traumas and relationships with other people. Once we use the right oils people release those emotions and toxins attached to them and then they are free of pain. What a blessing!

    Like

  81. I was in chronic pain for 43 years because of childhood and young-adult traumas, both physical and emotional. Then I found something that helped me heal and I’ve had no chronic pain for about 10 years now. I wrote a book about it. It’s an ebook on Amazon entitled Pain Free, How I Released 43 Years of Chronic Pain. I’m happy I found help but sorry that western medicine is taking so long to catch up.

    Like

  82. The medical community is much more aware of how adverse childhood events can bring ill-health. But it is difficult to look beyond the obvious, so we need to encourage that open minded approach. It’s also known a functional neurological syndrome.

    Like

  83. I enjoyed this article & found it to be extremely helpful . And made total sense when I look at what my sister n me are going through. We both had tramas some similar but some completely different. And both of us have suffered crazy problems health wise. We have both have been suicidal. My sister just like the women in the article started having sezuire like attacks in high school they couldn’t find anything wrong with her so then they thought she must be on drugs, when that was ru led out ,they said she must be doing it for attention. She still has them when some thing tramatic triggers it. She now has rheumatoid arthritis lupus irritable bowel syndrome and some kind of lung disease caused by the rheumatoid I have been just diagnosed bipolar with severe depression panic attacks and PTSD along with I have back problems neuropathy caused from nerve damage been to doctors all the time Non-Stop and getting nowhere amongst other things and we both have had several different traumatic things happened in our childhood and I totally believe that they affect our health and we’re at today because I think we would have had a totally different life if we didn’t have those tramatic things happen,, I also believe that those traumatic things led to my bipolarness and panic attacks

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  84. Pingback: Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients? | moretothejourney

  85. Pingback: Teaching Children With Trauma Background | BroadyESL

  86. I am so glad the medical professionals are starting to teach this truth.
    In my twenties, I suffered from anxiety and panic disorder, was agoraphobic, and was diagnosed with depression in my forties. After trying many therapies, I found Immanuel Prayer. While the focus in Immanuel is intimacy with Jesus, from that came healing as I trusted Him to take me to memories. I had two very traumatic memories that changed the course of my life, and Jesus knew exactly when and where in the memories I needed to go to in order to receive healing. He dealt with forgiveness and regrets and revealed the truth, so now I can move forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  87. I have had an eating disorder for 38yrs and I am a 62yr.old woman. It is a daily struggle. I would like to do something that actually helped.

    Like

  88. Pingback: Soul Intent Arts – Ancient Healing, Modern Shamanism What It Is Wednesday - Dauntlessly Dealt (feminist health) Reality - Soul Intent Arts - Ancient Healing, Modern Shamanism

  89. If this strikes a chord with you, as it did me, would highly recommend seeing if there are any churches near you that offer this amazing course called “Celebrate Recovery”. It essentially allows you to have a safe place to process your past and get full healing from it. And, what we have turned to to help us cope, which never gets to the root of it. You do not have to go to church or anything to go to this, usually it is completely free. But it will allow you to get completely whole and walk through some of the most painful things that we often times stuff down. Also Breaking Free book by author Beth Moore.

    Like

    • I totally agree. Unfortunately, I didn’t complete the Celebrate Recovery program but it did help immensely . They gave me a book called “its my life now” with various other resources. I had started going there to support a friend and ended up getting helped myself.

      Like

  90. Pingback: 4) Places Outside Canada | Lyme News

  91. Pingback: High Price of Childhood Trauma – findingbreathless

  92. Pingback: Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients? | Armor Of God Foundation

  93. I’m 66 years old. I’ve suffered from depression, gall bladder, 2 back surgeries, foot surgery and a lot of other quirky things. This article really hit home with me! I’m still in chronic pain with my back. I run back-and-forth to doctors all the time.
    My Daddy died when I was 4 1/2. That was the saddest time of my life:-( . I loved him so very much! My brother was 1 1/2 & my sister was just 6 weeks old. My mother suffered a nervous breakdown.
    I remembered him. He was a very Christian & kind man! When I was 10 or 11, I was sexually molested by my Foster Father. My Foster Mother was really mean to me:-(. I still cry about my Dad.

    Like

  94. While I believe their is validity to this, this opens up a WHOLE CAN OF WORMS to living a victim mentality. I do know DNA damage from such issues can be altered to reverse much of the “damage ” done to us purposefully or not. FORGIVENESS , and staying in a constant state of it, will heal much. Not forgetting if you can’t just keeps you aware. I believe great counseling for those whole live in a victim mindset , thus sick bodies, will help immensely. I am sick of seeing patients loaded down with drugs to “manage” what they live with will yes suffer more in the long run from what the DRUGS do to them.
    FORGIVENESS is key to healing.
    I recommend FEELINGS BURIED ALIVE NEVER DIE , by Karol Truman.

    Liked by 2 people

    • being traumatised by an event as described is one thing…being systematically traumatised by emotional and/or physical and/or sexual abuse consistently and throughout childhood is entirely different and has a devastating impact on the life of the victim. …a child traumatised by the behaviours of their primary care giver/s will need a huge amount of appropriate support to enable that forgiveness

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have to agree with Patti Anne Rodger on this one. Hiding, burying, and forgetting don’t solve the problem of the negative energy hiding in the body that is the long-term result of childhood trauma. Negative experiences, and the resulting feelings, create emotional energy that becomes trapped in the body when it is not allowed to transmute and dissipate. This energy that becomes lodged is what causes changes DNA which allow illness and disease states to manifest. Until the victim allows themselves to feel and process these feelings, there is little hope for forgiveness, which must indeed begin with the victim’s own forgiveness of themselves.

      Emotions are a response to our perceptions of events in our lives, both good and bad, and are messengers from our sub-conscious. Until we open to hearing and validating these messages, we are doomed to remain trapped in victim-hood.

      Like

  95. I was physically, verbally and sexually abused as a child. My mother left my four sisters and I in the middle of the night with a magazine salesman.
    One sister died at age 48 due to alcoholic complications, another sister died at age 55 due tu essentially eating herself to death, my youngest was 5 when my mother left had never been employed and is diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was taught in college that the mind can even cause someone’s palms to bleed. I have had two types of cancer and mostly eat a gluten free diet. I retired from a very stressful job and went back part time to another stressful job. I immediately gained ten pounds.

    Like

  96. Thank you. I am 68 and have just discovered a therapist who pointed me to the ACE study. To say I am relieved just to hear and read about what I now say is MY story too… is miraculous.

    As you say… Medical training needs to catch up! How much time, money, suffering and lives will be saved when the alopathic medical community wakes up?

    Like

  97. I really appreciated this article. I have fibromyalgia and neuropathy. I have not wanted to address the trauma of my childhood. This helped me realize how important it is to really deal with it. Thank you

    Like

  98. Obviously, it is important to consider traumatic events in childhood as part of the whole picture of health.

    What troubles me immensely about the growing popularity of this ACE idea, though, is that it seems to completely ignore underlying neurogenetic conditions such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and others that can create multi-generational chaos, conflict, and strife.

    These conditions are associated with physical effects as well, including eating and sleep disorders as well as other physiological problems with hearing, vision, etc.

    For the most part, you cannot “treat” the trauma without treating the underlying condition. Almost every person I know with late-diagnosis adult ADHD report trauma not just in childhood but until the point they finally received some answers as to why they struggle as they do.

    If the underlying neurogenetic condition is ignored and the adult’s problems solely attributed to childhood trauma, we are going backward to a time when everything was blamed on childhood. That left many people feeling helpless to change, to go forward in life in a healthier way.

    Screening and treating these families for the underlying psychiatric conditions can go a long way toward positive changes for current and future generations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ACEs includes and is related to everything you mention, Gina. It’s not about blame, it’s about understanding the connection between childhood adversity and the physical effects, as well as understanding that neither the disease, nor the experience that contributed to is is your fault. That provides hope for health and change, if you know that the brain is plastic and the body wants to heal.

      Like

      • Thanks, Jane, but I’m not sure you understand my point. At least your comment shows no indication that you do.

        Do you understand that ADHD itself is associated with physical symptoms, including gut, hearing, vision, sleep, allergy, asthma, and neurospatial challenges?

        Those physical symptoms are not going to respond to “trauma” therapy, and they are not caused by trauma. They are caused by ADHD.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gina; So by your way of thinking what caused ADHA? This is not a birth defect or virus one contracts. And yes when the root of the physical, mental issues are addressed then full healing is possible. But to state that any disease is an entity (ADHD) unto its itself is a chronic disease created out of thin air or genetic (Which ADHD is listed and considered a mental disorder.

        I do not see anything in this article which states that the underlying conditions if they exist are addressed. And again in my family there are no family genetic conditions similar to those I live with so then how would you explain this?

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    • While generational/predisposition history is important and is taken into consideration, trauma in our formative years aka childhood affects us dramatically. It creates chronic diseases,mental health issues, emotional issues. Speaking only for myself, all of my health issues, physical (MS & Fibromyalgia), Mental ( BPD, CPTSD, DID), Emotional(most of my life reacting like a 6 year old child took years of therapy to grow me up)…everyone was traced to my childhood of sexual abuse, mental, emotional verbal abuse by my father. Abandonment at a young age. Our childhood years and the experiences we have alter drastically our lives. And it is not to be assumed that it is just blaming our childhood, parents etc.

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      • The problem is, Kimberle, you are taking for granted that this is a fact—that “trauma in our formative years” … “creates chronic diseases, mental health diseases, etc.”

        How can you know for sure that your various health and emotional issues traces to your childhood experiences? How can you know for certain that at least some of the physical/emotional components aren’t connected to neurogenetic inheritance from your father (and mother)?

        It is not a well person, physically or emotionally, who does such things to a child. And many frontal-lobe disorders are highly heritable, including ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc.

        Of course these childhood experiences have an impact. I don’t believe we have the data to make sweeping conclusions that trauma “causes” this or that.

        Moreover, by overly attributing to trauma, we miss the opportunity to treat the psychiatric condition.

        For example, fibromyalgia is common among women with undiagnosed/untreated ADHD. And it often responds to treatment. Emotional dysregulation is also a core feature of ADHD, and that typically responds to medication treatment, too.

        Therapy can be very helpful. I’m not arguing against it. What I am cautioning about is to not overly attribute symptoms to trauma, because they might be better addressed in other ways. And you won’t hear that from a trauma therapist. I’ve encountered too many that only see trauma, and their interventions go only so far. This is unethical.

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      • The most successful approach is to integrate behavioral, physical and social health, so that all of a person’s needs are addressed: past trauma, current consequences, and treatment, including a traditional medical approach, therapy, and assistance with basic needs, such as housing, food, child care and employment. I’ll be posting a story about some medical clinics that are taking that approach and seeing remarkable results.

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      • Of course, but you’re still blatantly perpetuating this unproven idea that it is “traumatic childhood events” that is causing psychiatric and physical problems in adulthood. With very little data.

        I’ve scrutinized that KP ACEs study and cannot see anything beyond correlation, not causation.

        This is a worrying trend.

        Like

      • Since the ACE Study published its first paper in 1998, it’s published about 70 other papers. Since 2008, 32 states and the District of Columbia have done their own ACE surveys, with similar results. The World Health Organization has done studies in several countries. Cities and organizations have done ACE surveys. That established epidemiology combined with the neurobiology of toxic stress caused by ACEs (Dr. Martin Teicher at Harvard, Dr. Bruce McEwen at Rockefeller, among others), biomedical consequences of toxic stress produced by ACES (you can do a search for “adverse childhood experiences” on PubMed and hundreds of studies will pop up), epigenetics (Dr. Moshe Szyf at McGill, among others), and resilience research (Dr. Victor Carrion at Stanford, among many others), the causation is established.

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    • All of these conditions – ADHD, bi-polar, depression etc are caused FROM the original trauma. Addressing the trauma directly not only validates the person it unlocks the freeze and the trauma stress from the body. Trauma is the under-lying cause, why not look at it.

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      • This does become a chicken-or-egg question, and the results so far seem to be that no one is quite sure how much of ADHD is really genetic, and how much environmental. Many studies suggest that ADHD — like depression and other conditions — may be an inherited *tendency* that emerges when the person is put under tremendous stress. As a person diagnosed with multiple health issues since childhood — asthma, IBS, ADHD, PTSD, fibromyalgia, etc., etc. — it seems to me that the help I’ve received for all of these conditions, via EMDR, EFT therapies, cognitive-behavioral techniques, prayer, and so on — indicate that whether or not I was genetically predisposed (and family history points in that direction), what helps is not just meds but longterm work that addresses multiple traumas and my body’s response to it. The overwhelming number of confirming studies mentioned here and elsewhere point in the direction of the lasting effects of unaddressed trauma. (BTW, where trauma is concerned, emotional abuse often emerges in studies as being *more* devastating than sexual/physical abuse.) I’m convinced that we’ll never see lasting peace or healing in this world until trauma (childhood and adult) is directly addressed as a matter of routine health care.

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      • This reply is to Gina’s comment about trauma therapists.
        “What I am cautioning about is to not overly attribute symptoms to trauma, because they might be better addressed in other ways. And you won’t hear that from a trauma therapist.”
        It was my trauma therapist who diagnosed my Adult ADD and sent me to a leading psychiatrist who is an expert in Adult ADD. This came about because my body was having an extremely difficult time responding to the therapeutic modalities we were using. Though I claim to have the best therapist in the world, you really have to find someone who works best with you and is willing to explore all the options. I am very grateful my therapist was able to recognize the biological component that was hindering my progress. BOTH underlying issues are at play here: my genetic blueprint (both parents have ADD) AND the environment I grew up in. I believe the studies are beginning to show that it’s no longer about nature VS. nurture, but that it is nature AND nurture that molds our lives. And truthfully, it really doesn’t matter which came first. Both need to be addressed if we are to recover and become whole. I thank God each and every day for leading me to my therapist, who then also lead me to my psychiatrist. I love all three of them!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Sandy,

        You are fortunate indeed! I am very glad to hear that your therapist understands the complexity of these issues. Kudos!

        In fact, there have been more studies in recent years confirming what I’ve observed for years: that an unregulated autonomic nervous system (that is, ADHD) can create all kinds of havoc in the body, including with chronic pain.

        g

        Like

  99. I love this article. My son has had a lot of physical trauma in his life beginning before he was even born. His whole life he has had a multitude of illnesses, diagnosis’s and unexplained aliments. With unexplained seizures being one of them.

    A few years ago I decided to go back to school to get my degree in social work, actually God decided that for me and when it came time to do my internship I ended up placed at a trauma assessment center where I screen children who have experienced trauma. Hearing some of the trauma’s that these precious babies experience is heart breaking but at the same time I know that they will get the help they need to move forward and live healthy, productive lives as adults.

    I would be willing to bet that if the community was more informed about the ways trauma, of any kind, can have lasting effects on a person neurologically, physically, physiologically, and emotionally we’d likely see a decrease in some of the more common diagnosis’s given to children today.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Matt,
        I’m not offended at all at your question, in fact I’m glad to be able to explain how I feel that I was led to a degree in social work.

        I was told by doctors when I was pregnant that there was a zero percent chance of my son surviving. Tests were run and I was sent home to process all the information that had just been delivered to me. Three days later I would return to the hospital to receive the results of the test and schedule my abortion.

        Only that isn’t what happened.

        When I got home I prayed, and please know that I didn’t even know if God existed at this point, I was grabbing for anything that I though could help the pain I was feeling go away. So I prayed and said something like this “if this baby is in pain then to tell him it was okay to let go, that I would always be his mom and that I would always love him.” Immediately I had a deep sense of peace and a “knowing” that this baby would be born.

        In spite of what Doctors had just told me I believed this. Today my son is 19 years old and I have spent the majority of his life not only being his mother but being his advocate. Every moment of my life from the time my son was born has prepared me for a degree I never knew I even wanted. In fact if you would have asked me a few years ago I would have denied that I even enjoyed this type of work. But through much prayer, and allowing God to direct my steps here I am. I’m sorry if this doesn’t really answer your question but the truth is the proof is in the change in my life and the healing of my son. And I give all glory to God.

        Liked by 1 person

  100. Pingback: The medical community is deliberately ignoring data about childhood trauma – Everybody's daughter

  101. My mother finally died of congestive heart failure at 56 years of age. She spent her entire adult life riddled with one “rare disease” after another. She suffered severe childhood trauma, physical abuse, death of a parent and being separated from her 6 siblings all before she turned 11. She was later abused by her alcoholic mother and sexually assaulted by her mother’s many boyfriends.
    I watched my mother suffer from these past experiences that haunted her everyday of her life. No single doctor cared about her past. If they did, they never made the connection of my mother’s aches and pains with her horrific childhood. I don’t blame the physicians, I blame those treacherous scumbags who took advantage of a little girl.
    My mother spoke of her past often, she knew she had extreme emotional issues, and she used the medical system to her advantage. When she discovered prescribed pain medication in her late 20s, she found a way to stay doped up. One time, during my teenage years, I counted 6 different types of prescribed pills she was taking each day. Back then there were no cross references so she could go to a couple different doctors in order to get more of the same pills and she would purchase them from different pharmacies.
    Just like street drugs, when an addict wants their drug, they go to great lengths to get it, it’s the same with prescription pills.
    She finally quit everything and stayed abstinent for about 7 years. One day, she fell from a ladder, broke her ankle and the doctor prescribed her pain medicine. She never got off of them, and her organs just couldn’t support the return of that lifestyle so it shut down a few years later.
    I am thrilled to know that there is a push for the training of physicians to, at the very least, consider a patient’s past experiences as a connection to their illness and try to discover a holistic treatment instead of treating a single symptom with some commercialized magic pill. Thank you for the awareness!

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  102. my mother died in 1971 when I wos 11yrs,I suffer’d badly from insomnia, migrains, in1983 when I wos 23 yrs I had Guillian Barre Syndrome,I have always drank alchohol ever since being at school, I stop’d drinking alchohol in 2003, then I seem ‘d to develope chronic headaches and pain, in 2012 diagnosed with fibroyalgia / ME…………… not once did the gp mention any of these connections although I had mentioned it all and said to him could they be linked , many have just shrugged, told me to change my lifestyle and keep taking the pills……………thanx Amanda..x

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  103. Fantastic..I was the first person that I had heard describe the freeze reaction being one of many women trapped in a domestic violent situation.
    The effects are ongoing. I left to save my children and give them a chance.. I thought we were free but did not realise an incident that ocurred after I had 2 more children would leave me emotionally crippled and unable to be fully present throughout their childhood.
    Memories can inflame..literally..toxic thoughts..we really do need to learn to address those thoughts, forgive and let go.immediately.. everytime they come up.

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  104. Very interesting! Has anyone heard of going gluten free to get rid of inflammation? I have learned in 9 years, that going 100% gluten free got rid of the fibro, the gerd I used to have and all the body aches I used to have….Look Up Dr. Rodney Ford from New Zealand. He has many books out and even comes to Chicago to the Celiac center there. Also on Face Book the group is called Gluten Free Planet. I am not say it’s a cure all, but the Lupus, MS and other ailments can be helps through getting rid of Wheat/gluten. My doctor did a blood test, and my numbers were sky high….just keep in mind that there are false negatives also…..Gluten Free Planet is a great group. Go ask them….Al there is fantastic. Yes mental health is another big one.

    Hoping everyone finds some relief.:-)

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  105. It stands to reason that the release of epinephrine and cortisol during times of severe stress can affect people’s ability to fight infection!

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  106. Well. Hell.
    That was extremely interesting, enlightening, and depressing. I’m 40 years old, was born with myelomeningocele (Spina Bifida), hydrocephalus, and some secondary things. But in this day and age, the statistics show that 80% of those born with SB reach adulthood. Not to mention I know several people in their 50’s and 60’s and one or two in their 70’s with Spina Bifida. So there’s that. Based on that, I might actually be alive a while. Or not. Because based on this, I’ll probably die young. I’ve been through a lot of trauma. Not medical. Well yeah, obviously medical. But I’m thinking of all the emotional. Psychological. My dad was not a very nice man. Imagine spending your entire life being resented for not being born “normal.” Belittled, insulted, called stupid. I’d spend hours and hours in my room growing up, just avoiding him and his awful, violent (LOUD!) words. He didn’t hit me, but he would yell and scream and say the meanest stuff. And it definitely scarred me. Cut to my first marriage and that didn’t go so well either. Without getting into too many details, I am more on the sensitive side, while my ex was definitely not warm and fuzzy. Led to constant headaches and stomach aches and sickness on my part. Diagnosed depression, anxiety, ptsd. So now we have this. All this research that apparently shows that all that stuff leaves biological marks, makes changes in your body, raises inflammation and makes you prone to disease.
    It’s ironic that people who go through so much trauma and probably deserve a long, happy life, are apparently the ones who will end up with cancer and dying young, precisely because of that trauma. 😦

    Liked by 6 people

  107. Thank you so much for this! My husband has suffered much of what you have described above (specifically, cancer, heart problems, and GBS) and he just turned 40 last week. We have often wondered why.

    Liked by 2 people

  108. I had a lot of childhood trauma as well as teenager and young adult trauma. I have lost a young sister to a mental illness and my brother left the family completely and I have irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and an addictive personality because of my many many abusive people in my life. I’m glad to not feel so alone knowing that I’m not a person who gave myself these physical and mental problems but rather were caused when I was a child developing my brain and physical being. I also suffer from depression and I am no longer able to keep a job due to the bowel issue and chronic pain in my body from my abusive partners and childhood bullying. My bowel disease also prevents me from getting out when I want to so with my mental and physical pain it’s been a challenge in my adult life with my children and parents. I’m almost 49 years old and I never let these things prevent me from my life on a daily basis. I’m glad to have read this story and it’s important to be shared.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This makes a lot of sense, and explains a lot! We’ve all been told to get over it and move on, or that others have had worse childhoods. The emotional stress I experienced as a child, and teen would explain all of my autoimmune disorders. I could go on in detail, but I won’t. However, I see a positive note in this. All of the trauma support therapy that has been provided for children and adults due to school shootings and other disasters that have happened, will hopefully prevent future consequences like have been described in this article.

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  109. The allopathic medical field doesn’t even accept that our teeth and dental health have any influence on our physical health (we even have to purchase separate insurance yo address dental health issues), so it is no surprise that personal historical traumatic experiences are given little or no weight on one’s physical health outcomes.

    Liked by 2 people

  110. This is interesting but it doesn’t say what can be done about it – I have been helping release childhood trauma from the body of thousands of clients with consistently good results for 25 years.I am trained and experienced in SHEN therapy. It is a very powerful lesser known method discovered by a scientist who recognised the link between emotional, mental and physical health and used the laws of physics to fully understand the relationship between these. He has a lot of research in this topic including more importantly a lot of research in releasing the trauma and healing. Richard Pavek the founder is still alive today and lives in Sausalito. See http://shentherapy.net

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your comment Amberli. And yes, as Jane says, the second half of my book Childhood Disrupted is devoted to my investigation into over 30 science based approaches to healing from trauma, and how to create a healing plan for oneself, and for one’s family. I also followed 13 individuals who had high ACE Scores for two years to see what modalities were life changing for them, and told their stories of hardship and healing over the course of the book. Their transformations were quite profound. Healing is possible for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  111. It has been my experience that seemingly experienced neurologists and other informed specialists use this information to Invalidate the patient and physical/medical issues instead calling it all a psychiatrist issue and dismissing the medical investigation required for complex cases such as autoimmune or others that don’t show readily on a simple medical test.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Susan. I’ve devoted my career as a science writer to investigating what conditions lead to chronic illness, and how we can find extraordinary healing. I’ve found the connection between childhood adversity, toxic stress, and later autoimmune disease to be especially profound. Often these patients are women, and it takes many years and seeing many doctors to have their autoimmune disease conditions validated. Then, they face another hurdle to have their early trauma — which may have altered the function of their immune system in ways that promote autoimmunity — also validated. Both experiences of invalidation are re-traumatizing. This is perhaps why I’ve found, over the course of doing thousands of interviews and writing Childhood Disrupted (and before that, my books The Autoimmune Epidemic, and The Last Best Cure) that women who experienced early trauma and who suffer from autoimmune diseases as adults are perhaps the most resilient and remarkable women I have ever met. I’m writing about this now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Donna, I am a 55 year old male and when I was 7, I witnessed my family of 6 get into a head on collision while I was following them with grandfather. We were the first ones to the scene and unfortunately I can remember every detail, my father and 2 yr old sister and 10 yr old sister were killed. I never had any counseling until I was in my 40’s. I started going for depression it wasn’t until 3 yrs ago that a psychologist said she thought my reason for being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 22 was from my traumatic experience. A have quite a list of medical issues and it all makes sense. I am surprised I’m still alive, just going through the motions I’m afraid there’s no help for this soul. I wish someone would have helped me when I was a child.

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    • This has been true for me on many occasions. As a child, when I got sick, my parents dismissed it as trying to get attention because my older sister was truly the sick one! She developed Myasthenia Gravis at 16. It was suggested that it was the result of an auto accident when she was younger, and hit her head and chest on the windshield and dashboard, respectively. No seat belts in those days. Consequently I was sent to a shrink, on my own, but the doctor would report everything we discussed to my mother. Serious trust issues. When I became a rebellious teen, my father told me that all of the money they spent on my therapy was wasted, because it didn’t fix me! To this day, I tell everyone I can that if a family member is having a problem, it’s the whole family’s problem, and they should deal with it together as a family in therapy, NOT putting it on the one family member. I have Lupus, fibromyalgia, Sjogrens, Raynauds, just to mention a few. The diagnosis took years, and my PCP still doesn’t get it. Whenever blood tests are done, and certain markers are negative, he believes I don’t have any of these things, that its all in my head, despite all of my symptoms, and the diagnosis from all of my specialists. I thank God every day for my Rheumatologist! After years of bouncing back and forth from here to there, he finally looked at all of the individual issues and put the puzzle together. It’s been 16 years since that first diagnosis, and the other things have developed along the way. However, he says that based on my history, I’ve had it since a teen. I look forward to reading this book, so that perhaps I can improve the quality of the years I have left, because at this stage, everything is getting worse. I’m now being tested for MS, and have Post Concussive Disorder from a fall in 2014 that has left me with a constant headache and debilitating balance issues.

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  112. As a Practice Manager for a Psychiatric practice of 40 years I can only comment that you are dreaming if you think any Primary Care physician or any Specialist including Psychiatry is allowed the luxury of the “olden days” when you were encouraged to really get to know our patient and not just his disease, when you had the time necessary to treat “the whole patient”. Insurance and government tell us what we can treat, how long we can spend with the patient, what therapies they feel are appropriate and even which medications we can use to treat a patient. To even treat a patient a physician has to jump through hoops to get authorizations every step of the way. Though I may agree that understanding the relationship between early or even late emotional trauma in life affects our physical well being I am afraid you will each have to do your own “digging” and learn to develop ways of coping with the life you have been dealt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually there are hundreds of pediatricians who are doing just this, and dozens of family practice clinics. They’re seeing such significant results, having such better relationships with their patients, and providing so many more appropriate and more useful services that to a person they say they’d never go back to the old way. Do a search on this site, ACEsTooHigh, for “pediatricians” and you’ll see a couple of stories from last year and 2014. I’m working on a couple of others now that will be posted here in September.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lanah, Jane Stevens of ACEsConnection and ACEsTooHigh has created a sea change in this area. Hundreds of pediatricians and family care practitioners are starting to use ACE research in their practices. It is not the norm, but change is happening, and it is having profound results in patient care and practitioner satisfaction. Now we need to bring this movement into medical schools, medical education, and internal medicine practices.If patients keep asking for it, and journalists keep writing about it, it will happen!

      Liked by 1 person

      • While it’s true we’re much more likely to have this amazing research available to us for furthering our patients health and wellbeing, the truth is we have 15 minutes for a visit. How deep is our relationship going to become in 15 minutes? If our patient comes to us frequently for several years, we have time to develop the necessary level of trust and intimacy to get to the bottom of things. But to expect a big “ah-ha” in a few quarter hours is not realistic.

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  113. Dr. Nabih Abdou once asked me this question. I am a patient with hypogammaglibulinenia, a rare autoimmune disorder. The doctor was my immunologist who took such good care of me for 28 years. He has retired, but his retirement has left a hole in my life. This is a man who took such care of me during those years, that no one can replace him. I hope all doctors will get the message from this article, and look further into their patient’s past. Respectfully, Joyce Shapiro

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  114. I know this is true because the older I get the worse the effects of the abuse and loneliness of my childhood detroys my thoughts and behaviors. This has effectd my relationships with family and friends all of my life

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  115. Pingback: Adverse childhood experiences and chronic illness.

  116. A friend posted this article and I am so very thankful to have read it. I am approaching my 60th birthday with even more conviction now. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get help along my journey in this life. Things were not easy for me as a child and my teenage years were even worse. I feel though that life experiences do give us an insight and a strength that allows us to help others that are struggling. I am in a loving marriage with a man who is my very best friend. I have healed immensely during our 24 years together. Reading this article has made me even more committed to living a healthy and positive life. Thank you.

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  117. While this helps explain many people’s autoimmune issues, not everyones can bet explained by this. I cannot remember any major to me traumas in my childhood. I’m probably one of those weird people who just gets several auto immune diseases because of a genetic predisposition and environmental factors such as exposure to certain chemicals which wouldn’t be an issue in a person without that genetic predisposition.

    Very interesting article though which will doubtless help many

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    • Intergenerational trauma can also be a factor. For instance, the children of Holocaust survivors were just studied due to their chronic health issues. I don’t have the link because I’m on my phone, but I’m sure you can Google it.

      The trauma may not be “yours”, but may still be affecting you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Lillythquillan, we see in animal research that intergenerational trauma gets “soft wired” into maternal DNA in the egg, even pre-conception, and is passed on to the next generation. I write about these studies in Childhood Disrupted. This is a FASCINATING new area of research. Thanks for this comment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It really is a fascinating new area of study! Do we know if any research has been done into DNA from sperm, or the patralinial side? I’d be very curious. My birth father experienced trauma fleeing Berlin in WWII, so I’m curious if that might also be coded into my DNA along with my own trauma.

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      • Hi Lillythquillan,

        You wondered if there is any research about potential transgenerational effects of trauma through fathers … Here’s an article about such effects that cites the work of one of the best known researchers in this field Rachel Yehuda, who has studied the first and second generations of people who survived the Holocaust. The article also refers to the work of Michael Meaney, who does similar work in animals and who is studying epigenetics.

        Here’s a link and a quote from the article:

        https://newrepublic.com/article/120144/trauma-genetic-scientists-say-parents-are-passing-ptsd-kids

        … Further research offers support for Yehuda’s thesis. Studies of twins have showed that a propensity for PTSD after trauma is about 30 to 35 percent heritable—which means that genetic factors account for about a third of the variation between those who get PTSD and others. More biologists are unpacking the epigenetic effects of PTSD—how it may change the way genes express themselves and how these changes may then reprogram the development of offspring.

        For instance, the kind of PTSD to which a child may succumb differs according to whether it was a mother or a father who passed on the risk.

        Maternal PTSD heightens the chance that a child will incur the kind of hormonal profile that makes it harder to calm down.

        Paternal PTSD exacerbates the possibility that the child’s PTSD, if she gets it, will be the more serious kind that involves feeling dissociated from her memories.

        A mother’s PTSD can affect her children in so many ways—through the hormonal bath she provides in the womb, through her behavior toward an infant—that it can be hard to winnow out her genetic contribution.

        But, Yehuda argues, paternal transmission is more clear-cut. She believes that her findings on fathers suggest that PTSD may leave its mark through epigenetic changes to sperm.

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    • Suzi Lou, disease is always multifactorial. Before I wrote Childhood Disrupted, I wrote a book called The Autoimmune Epidemic, and another called The Last Best Cure. I’ve come to see the immune system as something like a barrel. When that barrel is full, it doesn’t take much for it to spill over into disease. It may be an infection, or a chemical hit, or a stressor. But as a science reporter it’s become clear to me that certain people enter adulthood with a higher load in the barrel. Genetics load the barrel. And those who faced Adverse Childhood Experiences have a more loaded barrel, they have changes in immune function that make their “barrel” more likely to spill over into disease — and even change the way that genes that oversee our likelihood of getting disease later in life function. That said, disease happens in many individuals who didn’t have chronic stressors in childhood. I talk about the multifactorial aspect of disease in Childhood Disrupted and in my earlier books too. It’s important to bear in mind — thank you.

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  118. Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my 9 year old granddaughter lives with us and I do the child care while mum works. When I came home from my operation I noticed she was acting strange. Within weeks she was diagnosed with absence epilepsy. I asked the doctor if it could be shock and she said no way. Sorry I don’t believe that. There is no epilepsy in the family

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  119. Thank you for your work in making people aware of this connection. With six major life events within a year’s time as a child, I was haunted through most of my life by my past. It made for a very troubled and painful life until I entered into two years of therapy with a wonderful team of psychologist /psychiatrist that changed my life, both mentally and physically. I am indeed healthier in both ways and would recommend it for anyone. I do still have some inflammatory and immune problems, but understanding the connection helps tremendously in recognizing triggers.

    Liked by 1 person

  120. Great article. As a child, I had extreme levels of ongoing emotional stress. When I turned 18 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’ve always had the feeling the two were closely related. Now It seems even more likely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Shaun,

      If it’s helpful, I have found a remarkable amount of research linking trauma and T1D and have introduced some of it in a blog post along with links to 2 academic articles I’ve published on this topic:

      http://chronicillnessblog.com/trauma-may-important-cause-type-1-diabetes-dans-story/

      As in Donna’s work, I’ve been discovering that the cumulative effects of trauma play a role in chronic illnesses of all kinds. I never knew about this when I was a family doctor. I’ve learned that doctors once suspected trauma was an important risk factor for T1D and other chronic illnesses 100 years ago and that a number of factors lead medicine to dismiss the idea.

      These ideas all apply to my own chronic illness (chronic fatigue or ME/CFS) and my gradual process of recovering by healing old traumas.

      warmly,

      Veronique

      Liked by 1 person

  121. I’m so thankful I found this information tonight on facebook. I will have to stop my remembering of all my past, for now, trying to rationalize the cause and effects of my own life’s journey to where I am at this point in my life at 68 years. I can hardly believe I’ve found some answers at last and confirmation of some of my thoughts on the cause and effects of lifes events on our mental and physical state. And now, that I may be able to incorporate them into my physical, mental and emotional state for the remainder of my life. Especially my divorce, watching my son and daughter hurt from their father leaving and never contacting them more than three or four times since then, trying to make a living as a single parent, and then the loss of my precious son who was killed in a car crash at the age of 18, caused by a drunk driver. No doubt these, and more, are some of the prime factors in some of my physical and emotional problems for years. Even though I’ve tried to cope by spending my life in helping others and stopping alcohol and drug related driving and helping others through the same experiences, I’m still suffering inside. After my second open heart surgery last year, I find my focus is less on myself now but more on my Granddaughters, of 17 and 18 years of age, who have been struggling for the past four years with extreme anxiety, fear and anger and physical problems. This gives such an insight to confirm what I have been thinking all along of the cause of their of mental and physical health problems due to their circumstances. I am anxious to order your books and share all the info with my daughter, their Mom, who is a high school teacher and single parent now, in hopes we will be able to help and find more help for them before there is more suffering. Medical doctors, Psychiatric and Psychological doctors, nor prescriptions have provided very little relief to them. There are so many pressures these days on children and adolescents. They have had loses in their schools the past year of suicides and mental anxiety and pressures. I am anxious to find this hope for them and perhaps someone in our area who believes in your studies to help them too. I so wish this info could be incorporated in our schools for the counselors, teachers, parents and a program for students support.
    Thank you so much for this info and for pursuing this severe mental and physical problem.

    Liked by 2 people

  122. The energy psychology fraternity has long known this. Great teachers like Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Gary Craig, Gregg Bradden have all done work to support this.

    Two amazing techniques which are proving fabulous success with this are EFT (emotional freedom techniques) and Matrix Reimprinting.

    Time & time again these methods are clearing these big and little traumas and helping people live more balanced lives, including War Vets, who’ve also got some major traumas.

    I’m so delighted to read your article and hear things are getting out there more. This is what I do – helping people be the best they can be. So more of this publicity is magic to my eyes and ears.
    Thank you 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Finally! Someone who knows about energy healing. It’s what has healed me. Thank you, Mary Jane. Of course the medical profession will look at you as if you have 3 heads if you mention any of these techniques to them. I just ignore their ignorance.

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  123. Pingback: Childhood Trauma Leads to Lifelong Chronic Illness | Sunday Everyday

  124. Bless you I too suffered a very similar childhood!! My daddy died when I was 10!
    I witnessed him start to have a stroke and watched as the ambulance took him away! He was in the hospital for quite some time and they sent him home he was partially paralyzed on his right side☹️He was previously a strong hardworking smart funny intelligent man!!! He was the pillar of our family! He got worse and had to go back to the hospital where he died ☹️ I have Fibromyalgia which they say can be from trauma as well! Oh and 9 months after my daddy died I found my grandpa dead, he was my dads dad!! Bless you for all you have had to endure!🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻💞💞💞💗💟

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  125. Thank you. I totally understand this. I was diagnosed with conversion disorder (pathogenic disorder) in 2000 at Swedish Medical in Seattle. I had lived with symptoms my entire life of eye magnification, my body collapsing and unable to move. However I could hear everything around me. So after many years of help dumping my childhood stresses and trauma I have been able to function. I know the triggers and still have them upon occasion, my body seizes up and I shake uncontrollably. Stress is the main factor for me.
    I was told upon diagnoses that around 65-80% of people are diagnosed with epilepsy. I love the idea that training for medical students is now coming to light.
    Bless you for passing this much needed information along.
    Respectfully,
    N. W. Of Colorado Springs, Co

    Liked by 1 person

  126. I had a traumatic events in my childhood and i have had fibro for 20 years. I also have ptsd. Therapy has helped, but feel as though i get worse instead of better! !

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    • I have the same issues, fibro for 14yrs and it seems to get worse every year! My rheumatologist suggested stretches, yoga, and walking but I have several types of vertigo so I can’t do a lot of that but I make Magnesium body butter and it really helps with everything!

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      • I’ve worked with a naturopath for the past few years getting my fibro under control. Supplements, vitamins, veggies, fresh foods. My inflammation has dropped, my immune system is much stronger & finally after 3 yrs of working on it, I’m not totally exhausted every day. It has taken awhile, but totally better than the last decade of pain.

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  127. I am so very interested in this. A bit of my life…..at 1 yr old my father died of a massive stroke! At 4yrs old I was anemic bad until I was 20 ( out of my childhood home…which many other things incured) …in hospital many times, very skinny & could NOT gain weight 😕. I had 3 natural birth children. Husband very verbal abusive etc…..worked many long days & hours….sometimes 3 jobs. When I was 37 I passed out & extremely dizzy for months….no doc knew what was going on. Then when I was 40 very very ill….like I was hit by a semi for months….high blood pressure. Then 47 heart attack & stent placement. Apparently previous incidents were 2 mild heart attacks. I have fibromyalgia, osteo arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes ( after HA) , Hypothyroidism, panic attacks, gerd disease …..unbelievable….& been in menopause 3 years. I work part time & try real hard to be normal…..

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  128. I believe in this article.I had some really bad stuff happen in my life.As a young teenager I got pregnant.My boyfriend always beat me up..I have been beat bad lots of times.Head trauma.I did get away with my 2 kids.A cpl yrs later met a similar fate.I have been treated for deep depression.Then found out it is PTSD.I wish I would of known this topic yrs ago.But I’ve always thot it was too much damage in my life that had made me this way.I have quite a few medical problems now

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  129. Personally, having had many autoimmune diseases since childhood, I think it is time for people to realize the medical professionals are only part of a person’s journey to health. Just a fraction of the journey. Most of the search for wellness must come from within and one’s own self searching for causes and cures through other avenues….. putting all the responsibility on health professionals is lazy and ridiculous. Rather than wait for others to find a cure or treatment, take personal responsibility for what has happened to you and how to get better. Realizing health professionals are just a fraction of the cure. The rest is up to the person, not another awareness ribbon. But that is just my opinion. Why wait?

    Liked by 2 people

  130. Omg my brother died when I was seven , I grew up with my mum slapping me over the head saying I should have died not him. ( it was a brain tumour that he died from ) I was raped , then got seriously hurt in a car accident & hadajory back surgery needing Carbon fibre & bone to try & heal , then I lost a baby girl , then I lost my parents , my eldest boy is seriously ill & I am praying he won’t die before me. I feel bone sad. I have a blood & a lung infection & I have to fight for my breath. I have or have had so many illnesses like endometriosis , chronic cystic ovaries , fibromyalgia , irritable bowel syndrome & the list goes on I live virtually on my bed but I get so depressed as I want more from life . This was like a light coming on to me. Thank you.

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    • That is so sad. I am sorry that your mother did that to you and that you have experienced so much hurt. You are whole and worthy of love and respect, and I wish you health and happiness for you and your boy.

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  131. Needs to be addressed holistically i.e. Treat the person not just the symptoms. E.g. Diet, exercise, sleep, hydration, TMJ (jaw) which stores much of our trauma, posture, negative belief systems and thought patturns, toxicity, possible alergies, stress, slowing down and connecting inwardly through meditation, walks in nature, swimming at the beach or whatever gives you that sense of peace, support networks, living your purpose rather than living someone elses etc as they all add up, it’s not just 1 thing if other aspects of life aren’t been met or nourished.

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  132. This is me 100%!!!!!! And my Dad was an Orthopaedic Surgeon with a wicked wife. My Mother!! If you’d like to interview me sometimes, GREAT. I’m on disability now in my life since age 51……. There is in fact a direct link here. Thank you for uncovering this fact……

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  133. Interesting article. Similar to my experience of depression and acute anxiety problems. I was a happy and wild child till I reached at the age of 12. The male teacher had enough of me and grabbed my long hair in front of the pupils who were terrified. He threw me outside and kicked my stomach. He went back to the classroom but I didn’t see him behind me and pushed me to the door but the handle caught my forehead. It was bleeding and he was in a panic. He disappeared and never returned. I had many nightmares cos of the abuse. I had depression at the age of 13 but only for a month and returned depression again at the age of 22. I met my husband and he encouraged me to tell him what were my problems. He is very good and we are happily 25 years married. After my second son was born and returned to depression at the age of 30. This third time was worse than two depressions cos many suicides that I did but my husband and brother saved my life. Then I diagnosed cancer at the age of 45 and now in remission. I decided to stop taking depression tablets and now back to normal. I looked back and thought that I am blessed to have plenty of support around. I still listen to others who have been through and I encouraged them to see the counselling or think positive things. Thank you for sharing. Sandra (Dublin)

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  134. This is absolutely true, but one sad thing is that the health care system we have set up now is designed to make money off sick people. We are nothing but a money making idea to the big wigs of Big Pharma and Insurance Companies so why would they want to make sure that childhood trauma is decreased? It generates more money for them. Sure they will start training DR’s and nurses to recognize it in adults now. It will make even more money in prescribing pills rather than help with the real issue. Our health care system is designed to always put more money into privatized health care which is a total money making scheme. That needs to be changed first!

    Liked by 1 person

  135. Great researche and article. What I’ve found that it were the emotion that were attached to the ‘event’ that coused the stress in the body.
    They blocking the energystream witch couses the ‘sickness’.
    thank you.

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  136. The things we all need for good health are the food we eat, and don’t eat and our emotional well being. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, being in nature as much as possible, surrounding yourself with people who love are so important. I believe also that what we choose as our path in life is the most important of all, doing what we love for work, following our passions and dreams, being who we are meant to be. Society doesn’t want this to happen so to do it you have to break free from the system as much as you can. Unschooling your own children, educating yourself and taking control of your own health.

    Liked by 1 person

  137. I had a very different experience in the health care system. I have endometriosis that went undiagnosed for 21 years. Whenever a doctor found out I had been sexually abused as a child, they blew off my physical symptoms and told me it was just unresolved trauma, and that if I went to therapy my pain would go away.

    For over a decade I went to therapy, joined support groups, and Courage to Healed till I was blue in the face. And still, I had “unresolved issues”, clearly, since I was still experiencing pain. If I had done the therapy correctly, I wouldn’t be in pain, so once I did some more therapy, maybe then I’d be healed.

    Fast forward to my diagnosis and surgery to remove the diseased tissue. Pathologist confirmation of actual disease, ALL OVER the inside of my abdominal cavity.

    My experience with the medical professionals was that they did indeed acknowledge the trauma aspect. But ONLY the trauma aspect, treating me as if I were insane and bringing the suffering on myself.

    I agree, trauma needs to be acted on right after it happens and not 20 years down the line, but if the trauma ends up not getting addressed until then, we need to focus on the trauma AND the actual disease as a whole, not just one or the other.

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  138. I have done everything I know to overcome the effects of childhood trauma and I thought I had succeede. I am always sick as an adult but blame myself only for it. I’ve known deep down there might be a connection but dont know how to make the connection and what does it matter anyhow. I’m responsible for myself now only problem is I don’t seem to be able to get taking care of myself right. It’s a lonely place to live in always feeling like a failure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie, I see this everyday in my acupuncture practice. There are acupuncture treatments that can help you. Just seek out a practitioner that works with trauma and mental health. There are a few other modalities that would do wonders to help, NLP and NET are 2 too seek out. Both can help childhood trauma. Yes we are responsible for ourselves as adults but it doesn’t mean we haven’t been effected by trauma and reaching out for help is the best way to help yourself. All of these modalities release the trauma from your body which in turn releases you physical and mental pain. Good luck and there is hope.

      Like

    • I’m so sorry , Marie. Keep on keeping on. I will say extra prayers for you. Yoga and meditation had helped me with these issues.

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  139. And I believe the children of adoption suffer the trauma of separation from the biological mother; placement iin foster homes or orphanages; separation again if finally adopted – all disruptions that certainly could and most likely do, contribute to the high number of troubled teen and adult adoptees with a myriad of mental & physical illnesses in higher numbers than their age-peers.

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    • I am adopted and I did not suffer the trauma of separation from my Bio mother..However the trauma occurred because both my adoptive parents were alcoholics..My father was a Doctor and when I was smaller I was told I was adopted and that they both loved my brother and I very much..It was very difficult dealing with 2 alcoholic parents and I hated it..My brother was able to spend more time away from home and so I got stuck with lots of difficult situations…I wanted to leave home and of course-I got married 5 months after I graduated from high school–to an alcoholic !! Very common…
      Many years in and out of 5 marriages–2 beautiful daughters…When my 5th husband left me–I did 3 things.. I became a Christian, joined Al-Anon and got into therapy….WOW–it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I went for therapy to find out why I could not make anything work out right and how to get my husband back.. She recognized early on that I was aslo an ACOA..
      I forgot to say that when I was younger-I tried to find someone to help me to get mom to stop drinking.. I went to our priest and to aunts and uncles–np help..They did not care–they were alkies too except not our priest…It was not until many years later when I finally acknowledged that my Doctor father was one too..
      I was 56 years old when I stated my journey–I am now 76 yrs. old..I agree completely about the Medical field not doing much about a child’s traumas when young..God knows–my girls certainly paid the price for the damage done to me during my years… We all are doing ever so much better but it was a tough go
      I have not really ever written anything like this before so I am sorry it is so long.
      I wish you al Peace and Blessings..

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    • I agree with you wholeheartedly. I didn’t find out I was a foster child until I was 12. My family, whom I had been with since birth, wanted to move to FL from MA, My mother told me that I needed to go before a judge and they would bout me if I wanted. I had no idea and was scared to death. Of course I wanted to stay with them. All the years, I tried to get info, and no one would tell me anything. It was awful. I have several autoimmune diseases, and have passed several to one of my kids. I feel awful about it.

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  140. This article is very interesting. I had major trauma in my childhood (lost my father in a bushfire when I was 9 and my mother to cancer when I was 15) plus abuse from a family friend when I was 3-4-5. I have several autoimmune problems, Scleroderma, PBC/AIH , Sjrogrens, PAH etc. and there is no history in the family of any of these issues. I will be following up this theory. Nothing to lose. Thankyou.

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  141. What amazing insight! I wish the author would expand on types of treatments/ interventions which are effective for ACE. How can ACE be addressed without increasing “victim mentality” which has become so vogue in American culture? Oops, I should have read previous comments before writing one. Clearly, I need to read your books.
    I can only think of a couple of people that have NOT had ACEs.

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  142. I wonder if that is the reason for my Anxiety Attacks since I was about 35 years old and I am now in my late 50s. I was physically(not sexually), emotionally and verbally abused by my father and my sister and brother have taken over since he died 10 years ago. I have been on a medication since the early 1990s but now a new doctor I am seeing is taking me off this mediation. I know these attacks will appear again. The medication was keeping them at bay. They are like someone is taking a tourniquet to my chest and twisting it as tight as they can and it is hard to breathe.

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  143. I’m in my mid-forties now and I’ve experienced a lifetime of physical and mental issues that are just getting worse because I can’t find any medical professional to help. I suffer from many things – chronic migraine (misdiagnosed for 16 years as an inner ear/vestibular/balance disorder), chronic depression, chronic suicidal ideation, PTSD, IBS, anxiety/panic disorder, obesity and etc. I suffer low-grade dizziness (that has increased over the last week or so to include more bouts of vertigo), low-grade headaches (which are linked to the migraines), and low-grade nausea on a daily basis.

    Most of my life has been spent fighting daily frustration and anger because of my constant “I don’t feel good” life. And frankly, if there were a real way of going somewhere and getting myself euthanized, I would most likely have already done so.

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  144. There are ways to deal with this type of trauma. Most Western doctors have no idea what to do with it except treat the diseases that pop up because of it.

    Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or EMDR and other Energy modalities tend to work well. And it’s wonderful now that we understand HOW these techniques work physiologically. Much of it is in the neurology of how we hang onto trauma and how trauma keeps us in constant flight-freeze-fight mode.

    If you are stuck with an awful trauma, please look up EFT. It just might help! And I know because I was one who had a ton of childhood trauma, sexual and emotional, and this modality helped me heal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I will second the effectiveness of EFT. It even helped with my range of motion after a spinal cord injury in a car accident! Both my husband and I are trained in it, and though I hardly ever use it anymore I am very clear that I would not be the happy, healthy person I am today without it.

      One side note, because a great deal of my trauma happened during childhood, I had a lot of issues feeling cared for by people and by life. As a result of how alone I felt, I found the EFT to be far more effective when another human being did the EFT TO me, vs. doing it on my own. Having another human being physically there with me, doing the taping, touching me, holding the space for me to heal was invaluable. I was lucky in that my spouse learned EFT with me (actually, he was the one who found it and taught ME). But if you don’t have a spouse (or even a willing spouse) I highly encourage you to learn this technique with a friend or loved one whom you trust. Having a healing partner can make a world of difference.

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  145. This is so powerful. I am a Certified Body Code Practitioner, a practice created by Dr. Bradley Nelson in his book The Emotion Code. This is the basis of his process, a way of releasing trapped emotional energy caused by childhood trauma. It’s a very powerful book, and an equally powerful healing process. I encourage all who are seeking help to go to Dr. Nelson’s website, HealersLibrary.com, to get more information.

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  146. Wonderful, enlightening article. Will get the book. Another excellent book is Feelings Buried Alive Never Die…. Because they don’t… They linger and affect us daily

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  147. Wow its about time someone recognised childhood trauma as a causational link to autoimmune illnesses i have sle lupus. Fibromyalgia diabetes,and depression as well as c
    A.d..thank you

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  148. Wow. This explains everything… I’m currently partially bed ridden & unable to work yet… fighting my thoughts about ending my life, i have lost almost everything I own, including My home, & now place to live. Looks like my next step is to go to the Salvation Army to live, since I’m losing my current place to live by October. I am so happy to read this article & to try to deal with my past trauma, before it kills me! God Bless you for writing this!

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    • Nancy-Dru I hope this research sheds some light on your journey and that you find a health care practitioner who can support you in your journey to find healing.

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    • Omg this study is the best thing ive seen its makin me cry with the thought it will help most godbless the lady who told her story mines in a lot of books all over the house where i get too angry an also with bowel op 9 an half hrs diabetes thyroid pros an many other thing s woohoo stop the pain make things work we need it t happen Now ……dont end ur life ive tried its is the onrs behind suffer an carnt get over it i survived keep this in mind were worth more then any scum bag that hurt us …. x strong heart an soul x

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  149. Almost ever indigenous and ancient culture has a form of healing that incorporates the whole person and puts high value on the body-soul-mind connection. Modern medicine has been glaringly and intentionally oblivious to the obvious since it’s inception.

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  150. As a therapist working in women’s trauma I have become familiar with the ACE study. Most of my clients suffer from such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia and many other stress related conditions. “The body weeps the tears the eyes refused to shed” and our bodies remember the trauma, especially traumas that are so severe we have repressed them.Mental health counseling is essential for anyone who has undergone trauma in their childhoods –either little “T” or big “T” trauma. The mind and body are one. It is a public health and moral catastrophe that most physicians are not educated in the subject. I recommend those who have experienced trauma get help with a qualified therapist preferably one who is trained in therapies such as hypnosis, EMDR, EFT or Somatic Therapy. Often, talk is simply not enough.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Denise, in Childhood Disrupted I talk about all the science based modalities that are helping individuals with childhood trauma, and some of the most promising include EMDR, Somatic Therapy, and even neurofeedback. Often talk therapy is an important entry point into the process of healing from the past, and these additional modalities (which many psychotherapists now offer) can make all the difference, and lead to deeper layers of healing, which in turn lead to better health. Thanks for your comment.

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  151. Great article! May give me some insight I, my family may need in the future. I pray the medical community continues to research this and ask patients about their past. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Check out the resources on ACEs 101, Kathryn.
      In particular, check out the stories about how pediatricians are integrating ACEs science into their practices. I’m in the process of doing a story about a family practice medical clinic that is integrating ACEs, and will probably publish it here in early September.

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  152. I can’t believe what I just read. I had two major injuries when I was a child. I was hit by a car and nearly killed. Two years later I was attacked at school by a rouge dog and badly bitten. My mother constantly belittled me also. I am now in my fifties and have arthritis as well as fybromyalgia. I also suffer with sever depression.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jayne, often once individuals understand the role that childhood trauma may have played in their adult illness and depression, they find new avenues — and new hope — to achieve physical and emotional healing at last.

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  153. This rings so true. I was lucky to have a Dr; a specialist in ME and Fibromyalgia, who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia but also asked if I had suffered trauma as a child. When I explained that I had been abused, he pointed out the link. I will be searching for Nakazawas book.

    Liked by 3 people

  154. This is very interesting to me. I am unimpressed, however, with the inclusion of divorce as an unfiltered stressor. There is evidence that a properly-executed, amicable divorce that benefits the mental health of both parents is beneficial to the child. I think it would be more appropriate to specify “adversarial divorces” as detrimental or potentially injurious. My family has experienced both, and non-adversarial separation of two poorly-suited people who love and support their children and each other is definitely the way to go. At least in our experience. My extended, loving family cares not that my father and stepmom are divorced, because we all love one another, celebrate holidays together, and support one another, regardless. Like mature people.

    Great and fascinating research and article. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen the list of various stressors and simply having divorced parents alone is not going to cause any sort of ongoing issue. The “non-adversarial, supportive” divorce you recommend is not the sort of thing that’s likely to happen in an environment where any of the other stressors already occur. In order to have the highest risk of ongoing health issues, from what I can recall, a person needs to answer in the affirmative to at least 4 of the 10 stressors (I think my number was a qualified 5… I think there was one that could have gone either way) and so it’s one factor among *many*.

      The fact of the matter is that even the *best* executed divorce is going to be stressful on children, but that in the absence of other problems, human beings are able to adapt and overcome. It’s only when things start piling up that everything starts falling apart at the seams.

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    • Although I didn’t write the article, the topic of divorce is a question on the ACE assessment. I would assume that is why the author brought this up. While your experience may be an outlier, even others whose parents divorced in a similar way may have experienced trauma through the stress of knowing their parents were not suitable for each other or being aware of the arguments their parents had. In other words, the lived experience before the divorce occurred.
      The most interesting fact about trauma, in my opinion, is it affects each individual in a unique way based on the perception of the individual. For example, if you had siblings, your parent’s divorce could have been devastating to them while a relief for you.

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      • The ACE Study included divorce because it was mentioned as one of the most common adverse experiences by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; the selected traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

        The Longevity Project found that children of divorce die, on average, five years earlier than children from intact families. More here: https://divorcereform.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DR_talkingPoints1.pdf

        As well, in her book “Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce,” Elizabeth Marquardt (herself a child of divorce) speaks to the profound impact a divorce has on a child’s life, regardless of whether it was a “good” divorce or an adversarial one.

        She also discovered that “…it is well documented that children are at significantly higher risk of abuse after their parent’s divorce. More than seventy reputable studies document that an astonishing number—anywhere from one-third to one-half—of girls with divorced parents report having been molested or sexually abused as children, most often by their mother’s boyfriends or stepfathers. A separate review of forty-two studies found that ‘the majority of children who were sexually abused…appeared to come from single-parent or reconstituted families.’ Two leading researchers in the field conclude, ‘Living with a stepparent has turned out to be the most powerful predictor of severe child abuse yet.’”

        So, in addition to the trauma of the divorce (and the potential for future parental divorces), there is the increased risk of additional ACEs for children involved.

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  155. Yes. Shouldn’t medical practices include or co-locate mental health professional(s) just as they do NPs, PAs, or PTs? It’s happening, but very slowly. This nascent model needs to bloom exponentially!
    Dr. Michael Shepard, Psy.D.
    Clinical Psychologist

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that you know, seek counseling for yourself in order to lessen the effects of trauma induced anxiety that causes health problems from the inside out. Support, educate and encourage healing for family and friends that have had childhood stressors. Encourage an open dialogue when they, or yourself are ready to talk their/your emotions out.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Boheme, that is exactly the right question. I wanted to understand what to do too, so I spent two years talking to dozens of leading experts and patients who had suffered ACES in order to find out: how CAN we heal? Despite what happened in the past? Thankfully, we can. There are many science based approaches to healing from childhood trauma, supported by the scientific literature (it is too much to cite here, but I put everything I uncovered into my book, Childhood Disrupted, which may be helpful to you — you can certainly find in paperback or hardcover at any bookstore, or on kindle or audible, or in any library — and I hope it proves helpful to YOUR healing journey).

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    • Hi Leslie,

      Although serious and chronic illnesses are known for having no medical treatment or cures and are clearly challenging I believe that the power of knowing whether we’ve experienced trauma is that healing trauma can be helpful in addressing symptoms of serious illness. Donna’s story is one great example of this as she makes significant progress in reducing her symptoms in only one year.

      Healing from old trauma has been helpful with my chronic illness as well, even if the process is slow and there is no guarantee of full recovery.

      If trauma has played a role in your and your brother’s lives, then healing from the wounds that are unresolved may be quite powerful – whether it’s to slow down progression / worsening, to help with coping and recognizing patterns in symptoms, to decrease or reduce flare-ups, which are often linked to triggers / reminders of old traumatic events, and more.

      Hang in there!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Leslie it is never too late. I would never have written Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal if I thought that were true. Just as the science tells us that there is a link between early trauma and later adult illness, an equally robust area of science tells us that we can turn bad epigenetics into good epigenetics. As we find approaches and modalities to heal on an emotional level and lessen our stress response, this in turn can contribute to healing on a biophysical level.

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  156. So grateful for this research, validated my concerns & rationale for my health conditions. The Yale study that is linked is a little “weak”. Can you point to more studies that I show to my providers? Thank you.

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  157. Wow ! This was an eye opener . Something
    That certainly applies to my life and yet now at my age how do I make changes that will
    Impact my life positively ? I would love to be
    Able to not only help myself but others as well

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sharyn,

      I’ve been exploring how to heal from chronic illness by working with trauma and find it a very powerful perspective and tool, even as it is not a quick fix. Donna’s book, referred to in this article, describes a number of approaches that help with stress reduction and that can also help heal trauma (as it does for her and that has helped her begin to heal from an autoimmune illness and other significant health problems).

      Psychiatrist Norman Doidge has written a great book that includes many stories of recovery or improvement with a number of vasltly different approaches to choose from called “The Brain’s Way of Healing.”

      If it’s helpful, I have a blog post on different approaches for working with trauma. These have some differences from more commonly recognized treatments for stress. There are approaches for addressing many different kinds of trauma:

      http://chronicillnessblog.com/find-a-therapist-for-healing-from-trauma/

      Like

  158. Very interesting indeed. I agree 100% Although I am blessed for having good childhood years, I see “screwed up” adults all the time to which you can relate it to traumatic childhood experiences. I am a school principal and see the hurt in the children all the time. At our school we provide support to help them adjust. So important. Really found this article helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! This is so important…. I was abused as a child…. My high school achers were aware…. As they were when I became homeless at 14…. I acted out dramatically in school which included taking class A substances in and out of school hours, but was simply left to my own devices. I strongly believe if any teacher at my school had your attitude, my teens and young adult life would have turned out differently. I turn thirty this month and am finally receiving counselling after years of depression and illness.

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  159. Great article here! I too think that the medical filed should get the ACE’s involved in their practices. Just think of the help people could finally get! For some people its hard for them to just come out and say what has happened to them as a child, and having some type of questions at the doctor’s office would be awesome to some people if not all.

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  160. Pingback: Adverse Childhood Trauma – FryerFamilyBlog

  161. Pingback: Childhood trauma leads to lifelong chronic illness — so why isn’t the medical community helping patients? « ACEs Too High – bitterbetties

  162. Oh my ..I always felt this in my heart that this was a huge part of my auto immune issues ..issues now 53 .. y childhood was full of stress trauma from almost when I can remember !!!! Most was hidden things I kept to myself ..wowwww nice to see this is writing ..thanks for this info ..and I truly believe that if one can intervene knowing your child has suffered and by type of trauma. That maybe just maybe you can stop the adult health issues before they can grab hold ..I could write more but I will just say so many adults suffering with many types of health issues most likely due to things going way wrong in their childhood ..I hope and pray our medical field will take this for the serious issue it is ..I deal now and try to destress knowing most likely many of my issues came from my body being under stress pretty much my entire young life ..

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    • Thank you for putting pen to paper on “my” behalf…I am the poster child for your research. I will be ordering your book and am hopeful that my ‘next 50 years’ will be healthier ones! Will also share your book with my physicians.

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  163. Donna,

    I loved your article and devoured your book, Childhood Disrupted. It was heart warming and exciting to read your message of empowerment that those of us with chronic illness can exert in our personal lives by healing the long term effects of stress and trauma.

    In your article you mention the remarkable fact that you developed GB not only on the ANNIVERSARY of your dad’s death but also just shy of the age he was when he died. In my research exploring the links between trauma and chronic illnesses I’ve seen that your experience is a remarkably common phenomenon in trauma (for one reference see The Ancestor Syndrome, by Anne Ancelin Schutzenberger).

    I left my career as a family doctor 20 years ago with the desire to find better tools for understanding and treating chronic illness. I discovered the world of trauma, as well as how it differs from stress, when I retrained as a somatic / body-mind psychotherapist and have been exploring the links ever since.

    I’ve had a debilitating chronic illness of my own for over a decade and have tested these theories with my own health as well. I have been slowly and steadily improving. It’s not a quick fix, but as you describe in your book, it is life-changing and the benefits extend beyond physical health.

    In my research I’ve found that, in addition to ACEs, trauma appears to affect risk for chronic illness from a number of different time periods in our lives. These include trauma in our ancestor’s lives, during our prenatal lives and at the time around birth (another, as well as later in our lives and often as a trigger before onset. I have found that the most subtle and easily dismissed form of trauma is the nature of the relationship between caregivers and their children (Gabor Mate’s book “When the Body Says No” offers an intro to this) – and I see this as one reason why many of us with chronic illness, like myself, have an ACE score of Zero.

    I agree full-heartedly about the long over-due need to include information about trauma in medical training. I’ve started sharing the research on my chronic illness blog (Tumbling the Stone) and it is my hope to one day teach medical students and residents about the fact that the long-term effects of trauma are not limited to emotional and psychological symptoms relegated to the field of mental health. As you say, the effects of trauma profoundly affect our biology as well.

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    • I’m interested to know more about the specifics of the caregiver/child relationship that can affect long term health, yet can still produce a zero ACE score.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Hannah,

        As Jane Ellen mentions, there are other types of childhood trauma that affect health and that are not included in the ACE score, leaving one with an apparent score of 0.

        Another body of research looks at the effects of nurturing and lack thereof and all kinds of shades of gray within the relationships between children and their parents / caregivers that affect health. These are often quite subtle and would not be considered “traumatic” even as their effects can be just as powerful. It is referred to as developmental trauma because it occurs during the development of the brain and other organ systems early in life. I’ve written a blog post about it with some of the research linking attachment experiences to health in children and adults:

        http://chronicillnessblog.com/chronic-illness-and-invisible-aces-adverse-childhood-experiences/

        Like

      • Hi Angela,

        Thx for the tip – I’ve added The Emotion Code to my reading list.

        I, too, see the effects of trauma as influencing the mind/body/emotional systems and that the unresolved effects of trauma influence physical as well as psychological health – And it does so in ways that we have yet to recognize in medicine and that are not “all in our heads” or “psychosomatic” as they are so often thought to be.

        My theory (and practice with my own training and working with my own health) is that healing wounds from old traumas is possible and can greatly help our physical health, including when we have chronic illnesses, years and even decades later, as it does for Donna Jackson Nakazawa.

        Like

  164. All of my medical problems came from childhood trauma. I have spent over thirty years putting the pieces together to overcome nine addictions, domestic violence, PTSD, mental illness, depression, fybromyalgia, arthritis, pneumonia, and more. my book, “Paradigm Busters,, Reveal the Real YOu” gives the process to restore your life and health. If I can do it anyone can!

    Liked by 1 person

  165. I share on brain science in a professional and business setting and have for years. i am writing a book for business professionals and policy folks – not the general public. The main response to anything about brain science is denial, avoidance and dissociation. Anything to do with childhood trauma is resisted even worse. Blame our Stone Age brains.

    It is going to be a very looong and hard challenge. Expect complete hostility and fear responses. Just the way it is. Settle in for a long slog. Pop(ular) science is an oxymoron.

    I disagree with Mead – Children need to be given a safe space to – feel. Families suffering from inherited mental illnesses are a societal responsibility – as this post highlights. Nature or nurture – No one is to blame to inheriting an illness. No one is to blame for choosing the family they were raised with – or traumatized by.

    The good news is the brain science is getting better at an accelerating rate: Just saw these headlines, for example:

    – “Depression Can Stalk Families Through Generations – People whose parents, grandparents had the illness were 3 times as likely to get it themselves, study found” ….and…

    – “Study of Teen Brains Offers Clues to Timing of Mental Illness
    Regions that undergo greatest change also where schizophrenia, depression genes are most strongly expressed”

    The bad news – “Progress happens on funeral at a time.”

    Liked by 1 person

  166. This information has been out there for a long time. I do not think the medical industry really wants answers or solutions; certainly the pharmaceutical industry is not interested. They feed off of our severe misfortune. I think that if we are to effect change, knocking on the front door will not work. As an example, in Rochester, NY, the Chair of the Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Unity Health System (Michael McGrath, MD) has forbidden any therapists to use EMDR. The establishment does not want people to know that treating trauma will lead to healing a multitude of illnesses that they are getting rich off of.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Banning EMDR, an evidence based therapy, is unconscionable. As long as a practitioner is formally trained, there is no reason this approach should not be used. Talk therapy just doesn’t go deep enough to heal severe trauma. Trauma is stored in the body and we need body based therapies to fully heal.

      Liked by 1 person

  167. I went through exactly this.
    death of parent at 12, fainting and onset of rare auto-immune conditions at 14.
    had also probably been molested as a child, repressed memories, was serious trauma around my mother’s death (not allowed to speak of her, have photos up, etc), and my father was in a seriously abusive relationship.
    welcome to a lifetime of recurrent pain and annually reinforcing ptsd.
    not to mention the studies done showing that if you were in chronic pain during puberty it can cause lifelong nervous system misfiring and further chronic pain.
    i’ve worked so fucking hard just to survive.
    i too, wish the system hadn’t made it HARDER by not being human enough to perceive my suffering, let alone how it impacted my health.
    i’m working on getting to the roots of this now. I am 35. The same age my mother was when she died. I am a mother.
    I am releasing the grip of the sexual trauma. I am learning to care for myself better and let more care in.
    I am learning, I MUST believe, how to let go of this continuous cycle of suffering, and how to end it’s grip on me.
    It’s taught me to be a systems thinker. To look at organisational, interpersonal, and personal development through the same set of multi-discplinary systemic lenses, to look at how to overcome the effects of trauma and trauma-denial through all of our systems of society and culture.
    I want to come to thriving. I want others to have a better chance to thrive.
    Thank you for writing this.
    I hope you find all the healing you need, and that all that healing actively finds you.

    Liked by 1 person

  168. Dear Donna,

    Thank you for spending the time to author this remarkable writing. I am an incest survivor with SLE (Lupus).

    Last year, I was asked to give a presentation related to art to the Master’s Program of Public Health at The University of Texas. In preparation, I did the research you have done here. It was an unbelievable experience for me to spread this information for which many future leaders in healthcare have not been made aware. In fact, many of my specialists did not know about ACE.

    Afterward I contact the National Endowment for the Arts to apply for a grant in an attempt to continue to spread the word and increase awareness.

    I would love to speak to you or email you directly, as I am seeking a way to be part of this. I am a nurse and artist. If you are open, please contact me at Galegassiot@gmail.com

    Liked by 3 people

  169. Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    This article has a huge significance for adoptees – many of us can immediately give a list of illnesses, diseases and disorders which have afflicted us and how important validation has been in our lives. Seeking diagnosis is often a long, drawn-out difficult task with few answers but worth the pursuit if we are to change our attitude to what has happened to us and what happens next. Really a must read!

    Liked by 1 person

  170. This doesn’t surprise me. Because of all my extreme childhood trauma, at age 61, I have developed lupus, arthritis of my spine, knees, hands, and now have to have major surgery for the removal of Tarlov Cysts growing in the sacral canal which are pushing on a bundle of nerve roots and deteriorating my spine. My mother made me her scapegoat, my brother was “the Golden Boy, and she gave him my part of the inheritance before she died by having the will changed. My brother was also an extreme physical and emotional abuser. I have suffered from major depressive disorder my whole life and PTSD. At this stage in my life and with all the pain, physical and emotional, I wish I would just not wake up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Today is the 20th anniversary of a friend taking his life, after I said tomorrow will be better, how it hurts my heart to see you say you wish to not wake up. Yesterday is gone, today is what it is, and tomorrow nobody can say, except like me I wake up and say thank you to the sun, my friends, and the Creator whoever that is. I’ve been molested, bullied, raped, given birth to three beautiful kids, gone through many so-called love relationships and I’m still here, still put my hand out to someone who needs it. That is my new path, to be of use to someone who is in need one way or another.

      Like

  171. Great article! One of my grandsons has Guillain-Barre syndrome so this is on point.

    Leslie May, MFT intern/PCC intern

    IMF 91402/PCCI 2642

    Mental Health Counselor

    Golden State College Preparatory Academy

    Aspire Public Schools

    1009-66th Avenue

    Oakland, CA. 94621

    510-567-9631

    “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think”

    -by Margaret Mead-

    ________________________________

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow — this probably explains a lot. My personal experience has been that trauma/stressors went hand in hand with chronic symptoms of sinus congestion and inflammation as well as more severe asthma symptoms and now that the stressors are out of my life and my mental health is excellent, I have almost no sinus or asthma issues. I know that my physical health is closely related to my mental health. The thing is – I grew up with no childhood trauma. My trauma all happened during my marriage to a psychologically abusive alcoholic. I think they have something here — but need to dig deeper and ensure mental health care goes hand in hand with physical health care.

      Like

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