Nov. 15, 2022

Childhood Trauma: What is your ACE score? | CPTSD and Trauma Healing Podcast

The ACE Score or Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey was conducted in the mind-90 by Dr. Vincent Felitti, Dr. Robert Anda, and the CDC and Kaiser Permanente. Their work has since been extrapolated on and shared by doctors worldwide...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/childhood-trauma-what-is-your-ace-score-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-podcast/#show-notes


The ACE Score or Adverse Childhood Experiences Survey was conducted in the mind-90 by Dr. Vincent Felitti, Dr. Robert Anda, and the CDC and Kaiser Permanente. Their work has since been extrapolated on and shared by doctors worldwide, including Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Portland as she tour her newly released book The Deepest Well.

In this episode, I will talk about the findings of the ACE study, and there are more studies, but this one is one of the more comprehensive that has been done in the course of the last few years when it comes to the impact of trauma.

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Transcript

Hey! What's up guys! Welcome to another episode of the Michael Unbroken podcast.

Today I wanna talk to you about something that changed my life about four years ago. Now, as many of you know, I started my journey into healing seriously, about six years ago. Prior to that, it was kind of bullshit. I would just go to therapist's office, give them money, tell them what I thought they wanted to hear and leave. And you know, that was the majority of my twenties. You know, I had a little bit of therapy when I was a kid but you know, I think when you're a child, it's hard to really dissect what has happened to you. And about four years ago I was on YouTube just like searching child abuse and how you can heal trauma and really anything that I could come across that would help me understand what was happening in my mind, my body, my spirit, my soul, everything. And I came across this study, which I hope that you've heard of, and if you haven't, then I want to take you through it called the ACE Study, which stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Now, this was a study conducted initially in 1996 by Dr. Robert Anda and Faletti, along with the Kaiser Permanente and the California Center for Disease Control. See, what happened is Dr. Faletti was helping treat obesity patients, and he had this woman come into his office, lose a couple hundred pounds, and then not even a year later, had gained it all back, plus some in passing she happened to mention that she got triggered while at work one day by someone approaching her in a sexual way, and it was a reminder of sexual abuse that she experienced as a child and this made him very curious. And so, because of his curiosity, he decided to start asking patients and again, these are all obesity patients about childhood backgrounds, discovering a correlation between obesity and child abuse.

And he took this to Kaiser Permanente and he got a study grant and he did a study of over 18,000 people mainly, and this is a very important key of this study, it was mainly middle upper class Caucasian people in California. So not the minorities, not people like me who grew up in poverty, who were homeless, who had to steal food for breakfast or lunch. No, no, no, these were upper class white Americans in California.

And what he found is fascinating. And so, the ACE study, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is based around a series of 10 questions. And depending on how you answer these 10 questions can be indicative of all kinds of problems further down the line.

So, if your timeline right now, you're seven years old and you're abused, well, you may not see the ramifications of that happen immediately. It may actually take five years, ten years, fifteen years, or in my case like twenty something years later to really manifest. And so, I'm gonna take you through these questions and then I'm gonna talk to you a little bit about the findings of the study because I believe and there and there are more studies, but this one is one of the more comprehensive that have been done in the course of the last few years when it comes to the impact of trauma. And I hope that more studies come out like this should not be the end all be all, but it's a great starting point.

So, TEN questions and answer them, tally them for everyone you answer yes to, that's a point cuz that's gonna be important. So, I'm gonna run through these fairly quickly, but 10 questions. All these have to do with anything happening before you turned 18 years old.

ACE SURVEY QUESTIONS:

  1. Did a parent or adult swear at you, insult you, put you down or humiliate you?
  2. Did a parent or other adult push grab, slap or throw something at you or injure you?
  3. Did an adult ever touch or fondle you or attempt to have oral, anal or vaginal intercourse with you?
  4. Did you often or very often feel that no one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special?
  5. Do you ever feel like you didn't have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes and had no one to protect you were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
  6. Were your parents divorced or separated?
  7. Were one of your parents hit bit slapped, pushed or punched by the other?
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a drug addict or alcoholic?
  9. Was a household member, depressed, mentally ill or suicidal?
  10. Was a household member arrested or sent to prison?

Now, for every one of those questions that you answered YES to, you get a POINT.

I'm gonna tell you, my score, it's 10. I answered yes to every single one of those questions, and the first time that I saw this study, I was so mind blown. I was like, how is this possible? Like, does this mean I literally had the worst childhood of all time? Do I get the gold medal for this? I mean, I'm super competitive. I want the gold medal. Give it to me. You know what I'm saying? I'll fucking wear that shit but really, I was just baffled by this.

And so, in discovering this, then I started looking in the science, and here's what's interesting. If you answered yes to one of those questions, there's an 86% chance that you answered yes to two or more of those questions, right? Chances are you did.

If your mom was an alcoholic, chances are she probably hit you. You know what I'm saying? Like, it just is what it. Now, here's where it gets really fascinating. If you answered yes to four or more of those questions, you are at an increased risk for physical health issues, mental health issues and emotional health issues from frequent sicknesses, bedwetting, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, asthma, allergies, IBS, Crohn's, Alzheimer's, obesity, cancer, depression, bipolar, anxiety, suicide attempts. You'll probably smoke, you’ll probably be an alcoholic. You'll probably have unsafe sex. All of these things were indicative of my behaviors in my twenties. I had a lot of health issues when I was young, had a lot of health issues in my early twenties, still have a lot of health issues I'm trying to constantly deal with and push through all of these are a result of growing up in toxic stress. Like as we look at the science now, we have a better understanding of this. To go in a little bit deeper in some of these scenarios that were studied, depending on where you fell on the ACE Study list, there is a 5200% increased chance of committing suicide or having a suicide attempt versus someone who answered no to those questions. That is a huge deal, right?

And when you look at the science of it, I look and I go, Oh, that makes sense. Of course, why wouldn't you be higher on the suicide rate? Why wouldn't you be higher in the percentage chance of smoking and drinking and trying to numb and get away from all the things that happened to you in your youth? Of course, that makes sense. And I think about this a lot, in my twenties, I spent the majority of its hell, my teens too. I spent the majority of it getting fucked up because what is easier than dealing with trauma, getting fucked up? I didn't have to worry about anything. I didn't have to worry about my emotions. I didn't have to worry about other people's emotions, my impact on them.

And so, here's the thing that manifests from this. All of this pain is in your body. All of this pain exists in your mind, in your soul, in your spirit, and you have to come to terms with the fact that you have been impacted by these things. You have to come to terms with the fact that you were abused, that you had a bad upbringing, and that there is a potential that your childhood could be making you sick right now. And so, with that understanding, it is in your best interest to start diving into the science even deeper because you are going on a healing journey and that healing journey starts with education. Because with education, we can go to mindset, and for mindset we can create action. All these things are a part of the Think Unbroken Academy, and all these things are a part of the way that I live my life, because I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you if I didn't first educate myself. Change my mindset on how I experience and exist in the world, and ultimately put action behind all the things to make myself happy.

So, guys, I hope that you enjoyed this episode. Please take some time, check out the ACE Score, learn more about your past because that will be the way that you create and change your future.

Check out thinkunbrokenpodcast.com. Find me on social media at Michael Unbroken.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I’ll see you.

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Michael Unbroken

Coach

Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.