Adverse childhood experiences, such as maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence, and parental substance use are traumatic or stressful events that lower an individual’s capacity to cope or adapt to future stressful events.
Childhood exposure to adverse experiences occurs at alarming rates in the United States. It is estimated that before turning 18 years old, two-thirds of all youth will experience one or more adverse childhood experience.
For many, exposure to trauma or adversity is chronic, repetitive or ongoing and comes from multiple sources– for example, experiencing abuse while also living in poverty. The cumulative impact of such ongoing exposure to trauma in the absence of supportive relationships can result in prolonged activation of stress response systems known as toxic stress. Toxic stress can have detrimental effects on learning, behavior, and health well into adulthood.
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and wellbeing:
"Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today" -Dr. Robert Block, the former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics