Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences

For several years I was a consultant at a substance abuse treatment center where I offered a program called Family Dynamics.

One of the topics the clients found most interesting was the information about Adverse Childhood Experiences or, for short, “ACE’s”.

A California-based health insurance company named Kaiser Permanente did their study back in 1989. They questioned 17,000 participants to see if there was a correlation between adversity in childhood and adult conditions. They called this the ACE study.

What they concluded was that the higher the ACE score, the more pronounced the tendency to smoke, drink, or use drugs. There was a higher likelihood of committing suicide, experiencing depression, and other mental health illnesses. There was a relation between the score and being the victim of violence and/or domestic abuse. The study clarified that childhood trauma leads to the adult onset of chronic diseases such as heart problems, digestive issues, and immune-system compromise to name a few. Additionally, financial and social problems abound because of childhood adversity.

It turns out the higher the ACE score, the more likely it is for a person to encounter these types of issues in adulthood.

After answering 10 questions, the clients would evaluate their scores. The room was filled with sighs of disbelief when they saw the impact of their past on their current circumstances. Since the study was first conducted, over 10 situations have been identified as traumatic.

The website with much more information is called

You can find your ACE score here. Knowledge of your ACE score is invaluable.

More physicians and counselors are familiar with this than you might realize. Speak to someone today if you can connect the conditions in your adult life with your childhood experiences.


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