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The Physical Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences


While many may understand the mental and emotional health consequences of early childhood trauma, some may not be aware of the vast physical health problems that can also occur.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have been shown to have tremendous and lasting impact on lifelong health. People experiencing these early childhood traumatic events – things like violence, sexual abuse, witnessing suicide, and more – often deal with many consequences of these issues, including:

  • Increased risk of injury
  • Addiction problems
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Increased risk of mental health disorders

Along with these, physical effects are common among people dealing with ACEs as well. Problems such as hair loss and psoriasis can affect those that have experienced traumatic problems growing up.

One study found that the rate of childhood traumatic events correlated with an increased risk of problems like alopecia areata and psoriasis.

Along with these childhood events, problems like depression and anxiety were found to be associated with higher rates of hair loss and skin diseases as well. Unfortunately, mental health disorders such as these are common for people who have dealt with traumatic experiences.

So, people who have gone through ACEs are not only at an increased risk because of their raw exposure to these problems, but also due to the other lingering effects that these issues cause.

These are just a couple of the physical health effects of traumatic experiences. This doesn’t touch on the traumatic experiences that involve physical health. Physical and sexual abuse are traumatic childhood experiences that have long-lasting impact on an individual’s physical and mental health and can plague them for years to come.

While there are products to help with hair loss and skin disease issues, one of the best things you can do to help people avoid these issues is to limit childhood exposure to traumatic events. This will help with not only emotional and mental health but physical health as well.

To help avoid these things, there are actionable things that we can do to improve our communities and help one another, such as:

  • Establishing increased financial literacy
  • Creating family-friendly work policies
  • Improved and expanded after-school programs
  • Increased access to mental and physical health treatment

These are all policies that would help to reduce the burden on families when it comes to limiting exposure to certain problems and establishing paths forward when these issues do present themselves.

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