Op-ed: Early childhood experiences could be partly to blame for the heroin problem [WCPO.com]

 

Too many youth feel sad, hopeless, nervous, and depressedas a result of their life experiences. In fact, one in 10 tenth-grade students in Northern Kentucky has self-reported attempting suicide. Sometimes these feelings grow in intensity. Mental illness often becomes evident by the age of 14. And youth are looking for ways to cope with these feelings -- the average age of first use of alcohol is 13.

The culmination of childhood experiences, both positive and negative, shape the way children develop cognitively, emotionally, socially and psychologically. They actually influence the way brain pathways form, thus influencing patterns of thinking and behavior that endure into adulthood.

In landmark research begun in 1995, the CDC found that “early experiences are an important public health issue.”

Specifically interested in the impact of childhood adversity and trauma on behavioral choices, the researchers engaged over 17,000 members of health maintenance organizations in Southern California to participate in what is now called the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study. Those research findings are now shaping a new way of addressing addiction, mental illness, diabetes, and other chronic, debilitating and costly health conditions.



[For more of this story, written by Bonnie Hedrick, go to http://www.wcpo.com/news/opini...to-blame-for-the-her]

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