Childhood trauma, health and addiction

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It may not be a surprise that individuals that have experienced childhood traumas generally have more difficult lives. Studies now all so suggest that their lifespans might be shortened by up to 20 years. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that children that experienced six or more traumatic experiences, such as physical, emotional, sexual abuse family household dysfunction, have an average lifespan 19 years shorter than individuals that did not suffer that degree of early trauma. There might be other factors that have not fully been taken into consideration such as environment and nutrition for example. Certain environments might be more likely to induce early trauma to children. Still there is a growing link to early trauma and later health issues. Dr. Robert Anda, who has served as an investigator with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study Stated that stress functions “like a dose of stress poison that negatively affects how the brain develops and multiple organ systems function” and this can lead to earlier life expectancies. These stressors tend to build in individuals lives, and it can affect how they develop, think and even influence their emotional control ability. The ACE research involved over 17,000 adults to arrive at this assessment. One researcher stressed that childhood trauma does not preordain later problems and that it’s just a guide. Similarly, a study involving more than 21,000 individuals that had experienced child abuse in Australia revealed a much higher level of failed marriages and relationships. An increased level of depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse where also noted. 

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study which includes 17,000 participants from Kaiser Permanente insurance program in California, confirmed that the more stressful your childhood experience-and the more different the types of stress-the greater your odds of later life addiction. Multiple, dose-dependent relationships where found between severe childhood stress and all types of addictions, including overeating. The adverse childhood experiences measured included emotional, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, having a mentally ill or addicted parent, losing a parent to death or divorce, living in a house with domestic violence and having an incarcerated parent. Compared to an individual with no ACEs, one with six or more is nearly three times more likely to be a smoker as an adult. A child with four or more is five times more likely to abuse alcohol and 60% more likely to become obese. A boy with four or more ACEs is a Hugh 46 times more likely to become an IV drug user later in life than one who has had no severe adverse childhood experiences. “These are extraordinarily strong relationships”, states DR. Vincent Felitti, a founder of the ACE study and the former chief of preventive medicine at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. We certainly pay attention to news claiming that something could raise a cancer risk by 30%. Above we are talking about thousands of percentage points! The type of adverse trauma does not make that much of a difference in the results. What appears to stimulate the most is the cumulative effect of multiple types of stress factors. Of all the factors of potential stress one would think that physical abuse at some level would have a deeper influence. The surprise is that a type of emotional abuse comes out with a slight edge of 15%. This chronic type of abuse surfaces as recurrent humiliation such as parents calling their children stupid and worthless! The ironic factor here is that humiliation is a common approach in addiction treatment. Where a tough confrontation is a frequent practice. Some programs place the individual on a “hot seat” where they are confronted sometimes for hours on end about their negative traits. This is done despite research showing its ineffectiveness and harmfulness. In fact, individuals that have been traumatized can be re-traumatized by this form of approach. This can push/force the underlying problem even deeper. Dr. Felitti insists that the best way to approach addiction is with “empathy and compassion”.

Blueprint for Changes has taken a similar but more individual approach to looking at this behavior. We feel that it needs to be approached with an individual understanding. Epigenetics is written through this whole blog. It’s how an individual absorbs and responds that needs to be clearer understood. Everyone will be affected in a unique individual way that they carry forward into life. The underlying structure originally created by early trauma remains consistent through life. How and what it connects to can be variable not only with different individuals but even within each of us. It’s not hard to observe a repetitive pattern from someone close to us. Then when it comes to ourselves things become a little more clouded. We are just not trained to be able to observe at that level. Blueprint for Changes has taken all of this into consideration and developed programs with each unique individual in mind. Just as we can track down and create our next behavioral experience with no awareness that it is likely to be part of a very complex repetitive pattern. Blueprint utilizes this very same intelligence for the individual to choose the program that works for them. Yes, we are utilizing the very same process that we really want to alter. The process that we have created allows the brain to look for diversity, which in turn stimulates alternative options other than what it has been familiar with, regarding history. This process is maintained 24hrs a day, 7 days a week until the historical behavior relaxes. This process that was developed over almost 2 decades was designed with ease in mind. 

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