Adverse Childhood Experiences
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are a significant public health issue that can have long-lasting effects on individuals throughout their lives. The research of Dr. Vincent Felitti, an American physician and researcher, has played a crucial role in the issue of ACEs.
Dr. Felitti's research, conducted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that ACEs are highly prevalent in the population, with over two-thirds of participants reporting at least one ACE. The study identified ten different types of ACEs, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. ACE's have been linked to physical health problems, mental health issues, relationship issues, developmental delays and poor academic performance.
Dr. Felitti's research also revealed the impact that ACEs can have on the developing brain and later health outcomes. Children who experience ACEs are at a higher risk for problems with brain development, including changes in the structure and function of the brain. These changes can lead to problems with mood regulation, impulse control, and the ability to cope with stress, which can have long-term effects on physical and mental health.
The study also found that the more ACEs a person experiences, the greater their risk for negative health outcomes. For example, individuals who experienced four or more ACEs were found to have a higher risk for chronic health conditions such as heart disease and cancer, as well as mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.