By Elizabeth Dixon, Psychology Today, May 1, 2021
The Traces of ACEs
The presence of adversity, especially early on, can significantly affect the human brain and development. Since the late 1990s, we've learned about ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences, and the traces they leave behind.
ACEs may be defined as potentially traumatic events that occur between the ages of 0-17, including any of the following:
- The experience of abuse, neglect, or violence
- Witnessing violence in the home or community
- Having a family member attempt or die by suicide
- Growing up in a household with substance use or mental health problems
- Experiencing instability due to parental separation
According to the CDC, ACEs may contribute to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance abuse problems in adulthood, and may negatively influence education, job opportunities, and earning potential. From diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, to depression, anxiety, and suicide, ACEs are associated with a range of adult health and mental health problems.