ACE stands for adverse childhood experience. Taking the ACEs quiz can help people determine how likely they are to be impacted by childhood trauma.
The term originated in 1995, based on a study done by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente. The study found that emotional and physical abuse, neglect, family dysfunction and other forms of trauma increase the likelihood of developing addiction, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions as an adult.
Chronic stress and trauma live on in the brain and body because they activate the stress response system. As Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University puts it, “The effect would be similar to revving a car engine for days or weeks at a time.”
The more adverse childhood experiences a person has, the higher their risk of developing health problems. However, ACE score doesn’t mean future problems are inevitable. Many other factors impact outcomes, including genetics and other environmental influences.
According to NPR, “ACE scores don’t tally the positive experiences in early life that can help build resilience and protect a child from the effects of trauma. Having a grandparent who loves you, a teacher who understands and believes in you, or a trusted friend you can confide in may mitigate the long-term effects of early trauma, psychologists say.”
There is also always hope for recovery, even if you have developed a condition due to adverse experiences. Mental health support can help people build constructive ways to cope.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for mental health disorders and addiction in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you process traumas and build long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.