Monday, September 18, 2017

"Community Newsletter: Child abuse has long-term effects"

From the

"People recognize that child abuse in its many forms has dangerous implications for a child’s immediate health and well-being. What many don’t know is that the physical and emotional damage left by abuse last long after initial wounds have healed. That’s the finding of a wave of research into Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs and it highlights the reason why prevention and intervention efforts are so important.

"What are ACEs? ACEs are serious childhood traumas that result in toxic stress interfering with a child’s normal brain development. This toxic stress can prevent children from learning, from behaving in healthy ways with others, and can result in long-term health problems. Some ACE’s include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and other household dysfunction.

"How do ACEs affect the child’s long-term health? Without getting too technical, child abuse is to mental health as tobacco is to physical health. Much the way smoking directly causes or triggers predispositions for disease, early abuse can trigger a host of cognitive and mental illnesses. Neurochemicals released during ACEs leave the youth more at risk of depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and attention deficit and learning disorders.

"Many times, these issues will continue for years undiagnosed and untreated because of the secrecy, stigma, and shame that surround both child abuse and mental illness.

"Left untreated, these individuals often turn to other methods to numb their pain as they get older. To relieve their anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, and/or inability to focus, they turn to easily available biochemical solutions. Alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, or prescription abuse are more likely the more ACEs a child experiences. Others engage in activities to escape their problems like cutting, gambling, promiscuity, eating disorders or other obsessive-compulsive patterns."

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