I’m life coach Peter Winslow, and today we’re continuing the conversation on what you didn’t know about stress.
You already know how worries about the future can cause tremendous anxiety and stress, and if you have a chronic illness or chronic pain, you should know how stress from your past continues to harm you.
In my research as a life and health coach I’ve uncovered recent discoveries that document a little-known and very alarming link between childhood stress and chronic disease in adulthood. That “childhood stress” is at the root of many illnesses and is now known to be a factor in many chronic conditions.
This identifies what experts call “Adverse Childhood Experiences” or ACE’s, a label which refers to the stress we experienced as children. It includes emotional, physical or sexual abuse; substance abuse in the household; parental separation or divorce; and other significant household dysfunction such as consistent swearing, insulting, pushing, hitting, or neglect. Here’s the connection:
In the “Cumulative Childhood Stress and Autoimmune Diseases in Adults” study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that childhood stress dramatically increases (from 65‐100%) the likelihood of hospitalization with autoimmune diseases decades into adulthood. (Dube SF, Fairweather D, Pearson WS, Felitti VJ, Anda RF, Croft JB. Psychom Med 2009 Feb; 71(2) L243‐350.)
Their conclusion: There is a strong association between childhood stressors (ACE’s) and the onset of an autoimmune disorder later in life. In an article reviewing a number of related studies, one researcher noted that:
“Research has shown a strong relationship between childhood trauma and psychological difficulties in later life; more recent research has indicated that the long‐term effects are even greater for physical illness. The illnesses identified include, but are not limited to, eating disorders, substance abuse, phobias, multiple personality disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disorders.” (Mulvihill, D. The Health Impact of Childhood Trauma: An Interdisciplinary Review, 1997‐2003, Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing: 28:115‐136, 2005.)
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