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Fighting Health Problems at Their Source: Childhood Trauma

Courtesy of West Virginia University

The opioid epidemic. Obesity. Low workforce participation. These adult problems have their roots in childhood trauma.

Dr. Michael Brumage wants West Virginians to understand what the research shows - that exposure to childhood trauma can lead to a variety of public health problems in adulthood.

Brumage is talking about ACES: Adverse Childhood Experiences. In a recent study, West Virginia children scored higher than the national average of 46 percent.

Adverse Childhood Experiences include:

·         Having a parent or guardian who died or served jail time

·         Having parents that are divorced or separated.

·         Living in households with violence or in households that are struggling financially.

·         Childhood exposure to neighborhood violence. 

·         Living with someone mentally ill, suicidal, depressed or addicted.

·         Being mistreated due to race or ethnicity.

Experts say ACES contribute to high stress levels that derail healthy development and raise risks for unhealthy behaviors.

Brumage says we can help children deal with trauma - just one positive adult influence can help kids weather the storm.

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