Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events in a child’s life that can have negative and lasting effects on health and well-being.

  • ACEs are common… nearly two-thrids (64%) of adults have at least one.
  • ACEs don’t occur alone…if you scored one, there’s an 87% chance that you have experienced two or more.
  • 1 in 6 adults experienced four or more types of ACEs.

ACES is a 10-item questionnaire used to measure childhood trauma. The questionnaire assesses 10 types of childhood trauma.
Five are personal: physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect.
Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment.

What impact does ACES have?

  • The more ACEs one has, the greater the risk for chronic disease, mental illness, violence.
  • People with an ACE score of four are twice as likely to be smokers and seven times more likely to be alcoholic.
  • Having an ACE score of four increases the risk of emphysema or chronic bronchitis by nearly 400%, and suicide by 1200%.
  • Experiencing 4 or more ACEs is associated with significantly increased risk for 7 out of 10 leading adult causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, COPD, diabetes, Alzheimers and suicide.
  • People with an ACE score of six or higher are at risk of their lifespan being shortened by 20 years.
  • ACES can impact every aspect of one’s overall wellness (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, occupational & financial)

The World Health Organization recommends people suffering from post-traumatic stress to advanced treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR therapy is extremely effective in treating adults who have experienced childhood trauma.

Both techniques help people reduce vivid, unwanted, repeated recollections of traumatic events. For more information on EMDR click here