How to Assess Childhood Trauma
Unfortunately we live in a world where extreme childhood trauma and abuse is prevalent.
In the United States alone, 34.8 million children (ages 0-17) have experienced at least one traumatic childhood event that can severely harm their future health and well-being. These children grow up into adults that continue to experience the adverse effects of their childhood trauma without understanding why they are struggling so much in adulthood.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) assessment is a tool used to measure the level of exposure to traumatic events in childhood. It is an essential tool for understanding the impact of childhood trauma on health and well-being. Childhood trauma is a widespread issue affecting millions of children worldwide, and the ACE assessment helps to identify the long-term effects of childhood adversity on individuals.
The ACE assessment measures ten types of childhood trauma that a person may have experienced before the age of 18. These include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, parental divorce, and substance abuse. Each type of trauma is given a score of 1, and the more types of trauma a person has experienced, the higher their ACE score.
Studies have shown that the higher a person’s ACE score, the higher their risk for a range of physical and mental health problems in adulthood.
Understanding the impact of childhood trauma is essential because it affects a person’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. Studies have shown that children who experience trauma are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They are also at a higher risk of developing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
The impact of childhood trauma is not just limited to the individual but can also affect society as a whole. Childhood trauma has been linked to increased criminal behavior, substance abuse, and unemployment. It is estimated that the economic burden of childhood trauma in the United States alone is $428 billion annually.
Statistics on the prevalence of childhood trauma are alarming. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States had experienced at least one type of ACE in their childhood. Furthermore, one in six adults reported experiencing four or more types of ACEs, putting them at high risk for physical and mental health problems in adulthood.
The ACE assessment is an important tool for identifying childhood trauma and its long-term effects. When you understand your ACE score it can shed light on just how much trauma you experienced as a child and it can help you to build a roadmap to recovery. If left unhealed, these experiences WILL follow you into adulthood and wreak havoc on your life.
With an ACE score of 4 or higher, you become significantly more impacted by your trauma in these specific ways:
- chronic pulmonary lung disease increases by 390%
- hepatitis, increases by 240%
- depression increases by 460%
- suicide attempts increase by 1,220%
- twice as likely to be smokers
- 7x’s more likely to be alcoholic.
- risk of emphysema or chronic bronchitis increases by nearly 400%
- significantly increased risk for 7 out of 10 leading adult causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, COPD, diabetes and Alzheimer’s
- an ACE score of six or higher are at risk of their lifespan decreasing by 20 years.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can impact every aspect of one’s overall wellness (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, occupational & financial).
Take the ACE assessment below and start understanding your childhood trauma so you can learn how to heal from it and start living your best life!