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Anxiety, Adversity and ACEs


Here is an interesting article on anxiety and how it impacts us. According to the article, about 40 million adults are affected in the United States. It is a significant problem, as one who has experienced anxiety over my life. Sometimes it can actually become debilitating and prevent us from making decisions. With an adult  population in the U.S. of about 245 million [LINK HERE], we know that anxiety impacts over 16% of our population. That’s a huge number.

Research in the field of anxiety is ongoing and the linkages to ACEs are well established. That range of research is constantly being expanded and this article is a good introduction to the science. I was surprised to read that 3 or more ACEs drive men towards a higher stress reaction to life’s minor events. I thought I was the only one who reacted that way.

As shown by the ACE Study, the research is showing that 3 or more ACEs led to reporting more anxiety. Anxiety also seems to increase later in life with the additional stressor of life. 

And we already know that many higher ACE individuals try to self-heal with a variety of behaviors and habits. Rates of depression and stress are also linked to higher ACEs, and the accompanying drug and alcohol use, suicide, and crime/anger issues undoubtedly are caused by and increased by levels of anxiety and stress.

One aspect of this last article I spent a lot of time researching is what they refer to as “comorbidity.” As a non-scientist I looked the term up and found that it just meant that two or more conditions existed in the same person. So we might be comorbid for anxiety, depression and alcohol abuse. That makes sense because I see it all of the time. Scientists talk about an attributable risk factor and the fact that not every individual with a high ACE score will have every risk factor. I have tried to explain my understanding when I discuss the existence of positive, neutral and negative behaviors that help high-ACE individuals cope.

Many individuals live with high anxiety and we need to learn how to address it, especially in cooperation with all of the accompanying issues frequently seen with it.

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