Adverse childhood experiences: the long-term effects
There are many different ways to measure the impact of child abuse, neglect, or a combination of both. The CDC defines adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a range of childhood traumas, including physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse and assault, emotional abuse and exposure to domestic violence. These experiences are correlated with increased risk for negative health conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide attempts, substance use disorders, HIV/AIDS, and autoimmune diseases. They are also connected to higher rates of death when compared to those without ACEs.
The effects of ACEs include PTSD and an elevated risk for alcoholism later in life. According to the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study), people who have experienced five or more types of ACEs are almost 10 times more likely to have alcohol abuse problems than those with one or none. Alcoholism is not the only problem related to ACEs; other problems that increase as a result of these experiences include heart disease and cancer mortality.