Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. The pervasive trauma of adverse childhood experiences are experienced by two thirds of the US population and are a direct cause of negative health outcomes.
Paediatrician, Nadine Burke Harris, explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer and have their life expectancy lowered by twenty years. The developing brains of children make them particularly susceptible to recurrent toxic stress.
She says it’s time to focus on what’s really hurting our children. We must address the root cause behind illness and confront the prevention and treatment of trauma head-on.