Adverse Childhood Experience
(Workbook Page 18)
Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) sets people up for a magnified response to trauma, pain and illness later in life. Young nervous systems exposed to ACE are primed to secrete higher levels of substance-P. ACE is defined as psychological abuse, physical abuse, contact sexual abuse, exposure to substance abuse, mental illness, violent treatment of mother or stepmother, and criminal behavior in household. These people showed an increased incidence of high risk behavior, major health problems and high mortality as adults. The incidence of ACE is shockingly high and this augmented response can be traced like a thread through the lives of these individuals. The good news is that once this is recognized and linked to their adult responses, changes can occur and often quickly. Most adults responding in this augmented fashion to stressors in their lives desperately seek answers and ways to rid themselves of their anxieties.
While this has huge social implications, it is at the individual level that changes must be made. Often people exposed to ACE have poor coping skills, especially around soothing and pursuit of pleasure. By sequentially experimenting with various soothing sensory stimuli, the brain’s neuroplastic processes can be brought to bear to make the changes that reduce the risk of those exposed to ACE. The brain and body can be taught to react differently. People can learn to respond more adaptively to the stressors in their lives.