Childhood Trauma Brings on Adult Illness – It Happens to Many of Us

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childhood trauma
Photo courtesy Familius.org

The story linked below – of a woman’s childhood trauma manifesting in life-threatening illness later in life – really hit home for me. My ‘childhood trauma’ happened when I was 14 years old. Our phone rang at 1:00 am. One minute later, the doorbell rang. On the phone was a doctor telling me my mother had been a car accident. At the door were two police officers who were sent to escort me to the hospital. In that one minute, my life – and unbeknownst to me – my health, changed forever.

profile-dawn-archbold
The author, Dawn Archbold, PVI Operations Director

At 15, I developed my first ulcer. Today, I struggle with fibromyalgia, asthma, depression and anxiety.  I am a breast cancer survivor.  I have occasional bouts of long-lasting vertigo. I get migraines and my lower jaw is in a splint from TMJ. Did my mother’s death, and other subsequent traumas, lead to my health issues?  I had never really linked the two, but apparently the answer to that is YES!

The article below points out: Two-thirds of Americans report experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences. These include obvious sexual and physical abuse, but also stressors that many consider to be normal — growing up with divorced parents, living with a depressed or alcoholic mom or dad, having a parent who belittled or humiliated you – or simply not feeling as if your family had your back. People who’d experienced four such categories of childhood adversity were twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer and depression as adults. Read the article here:

Childhood Trauma
Author of the linked article with her father

We’ve come a long way in acknowledging how life experiences can affect our health.  All doctors need to understand the value in relating childhood trauma to adult health issues. The science is undeniable, and the effects can be lifelong and debilitating without intervention and treatment.

Have you experienced such connections in your life? Has your doctor ever asked you about it?

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