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Butler: Finding Resilience: How childhood trauma impacts future health outcomes


It's now well known that childhood experiences helps shape an individual’s personality long before they reach adulthood. Studies have also gone on to reenforce just how critical adverse childhood experiences can on an adult's health.

These adverse childhood experiences are commonly referred to as ACEs. They fall into three categories: abuse, neglect and household disfunction. According to information compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as the number of ACEs a child experiences grows, so too does the risk of that child later having negative health outcomes.

The outcomes can be behavioral issues such as alcoholism or drug abuse or physical and mental health issues such as depression and a higher risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke. For example, according to The Tulsa World, a child who experiences four or more ACES is 7.4 times more likely to suffer from alcoholism and twice as likely to experience a stroke or have heart disease.

According to Ellen Roberts, director of Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative with Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers, children in Oklahoma experience some of the highest ACE scores in the nation.

“We have extremely high ACE scores in Oklahoma,” Roberts said. “in fact we have the highest ACE score for children from birth to age five.”

In order to further raise awareness of this information the Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative is partnering with Ardmore Literacy Leadership to hold a virtual screening of the 2016 documentary “Resilience,” a film that discusses ACEs and ways to help treat and prevent the toxic stresses that lead to negative health effects. This will be followed by a virtual panel discussion with state and local experts on the topic.

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