Childhood traumas can alter the very chemistry and physiology of the brain itself! Know more about how it can lead to the adult onset of chronic diseases.
According to science writer and author Donna Jackson Nakazawa, after suffering an autoimmune disease and extreme inflammation for her entire adult life, one physician finally made the connection between her ongoing suffering and the real actual cause.
As she reveals in her book, Childhood Interrupted, this cause is “childhood trauma”.
Childhood Adversity And The Adult Onset Of Chronic Diseases
According to the CDC, childhood trauma results in a plethora of adult onset diseases such as – depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, migraines, autoimmune disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This childhood trauma can range from obvious physical or sexual abuse to living with divorced parents, alcoholic parents or parent or psychological abuse such as humiliation, belittling or being neglected.
- Patients that experienced 4 or more of these criteria of childhood adversities were twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression and cancer as adults.
- Women who had faced 3 or more types of childhood adversity experienced a 60% greater incidence of being hospitalized in adulthood with an autoimmune disease.
- Experiencing 6 or more categories shortened lifespan by 20 years.
This damage occurs due to changes in the brain itself which results in a chronic state of high stress.
Ms. Nakazawa describes it as a permanent state of fight, flight or freeze which floods the child’s body and brain with stress hormones, altering the genes and resetting the stress response to high for life.
It Is Time To Strengthen Physician-Patient Relationships!
According to the author, research has existed since 1996 linking childhood stress and adult chronic illness and 1,500 studies have replicated the results. Two thirds of American report experiencing childhood adversity.
Why then does the medical community fail to acknowledge this tremendous link? For one, medical schools leave this information out of their curriculum.
Lack of holism in healthcare, as well as shortened office visits, lack of relationships due to insurance changes etc, as well as MD’s reluctance to initiate dialogues about mental health all play a role in this major public health problem being ignored.
Annual health costs and potential savings by addressing this epidemic is $124 billion a year!
One study of 125,000 patients showed that when physicians acknowledge childhood trauma openly, patients experienced a thirty five percent reduction in doctor visits.
It seems that validating patient suffering leads to them dealing with it at last.