More than 60%?   Yes, according to research findings from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than half of American adults – a MAJORITY of adults – report that they suffered from what the CDC calls Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Majority of U.S. Adults Had Troubled Childhoods: CDC

Study finds nearly 60 percent lived with abuse or other difficult family situations

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2010 (HealthDay News) – “Almost 60 percent of American adults say they had difficult childhoods featuring abusive or troubled family members or parents who were absent due to separation or divorce, federal health officials report.

In fact, nearly 9 percent said that while growing up they underwent five or more “adverse childhood experiences” ranging from verbal, physical or sexual abuse to family dysfunction such as domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or the absence of a parent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Adverse childhood experiences are common,” said study coauthor Valerie J. Edwards, team lead for the Adverse Childhood Experiences Team at CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “We need to do a lot more to protect children and help families,” she said.”

“Adverse childhood experiences included in the report included verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, incarceration of a family member, family mental illness, family substance abuse, domestic violence and divorce.

According to the report, about 7.2 percent had had a family member in prison during their childhood and 16.3 percent had witnessed domestic violence in the family home. In addition, about 29 percent grew up in a home where someone abused alcohol or drugs. “These cases occur across all racial groups and ethnicities,” Edwards noted.

Almost one in five respondents (19.4 percent) had lived as a child with someone who was depressed, mentally ill or suicidal, the report noted.”  Click HERE to read full article


I also found another current report that states at LEAST 1 in 5 American adults suffer from some form of ‘mental illness’:

1 In 5 U.S. Adults Had Mental Illness Last Year: Report –The Huffington Post   Posted: 01/19/2012 2:41 pm

Follow this link to more information about this study, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

National report finds one-in-five Americans experienced mental illness in the past year


It is reasonable to expect that the statistics in both of these reports are low, and that there are far more difficulties related to child abuse and to ‘mental illness’ than is reported.

Our nation HAS a national health crisis as reflected in these research findings.  Knowing these facts means that as we stand in line at a grocery store or sit in a movie theater or wait at a stop light we can look around us and know that over half the people around us have suffered from insecure attachment in their earliest years and are suffering consequences in their adulthood.

We can pretend that early troubles, early insecure attachment environments don’t matter.  They do.

Some of us have suffered from far WORSE trauma in our early years than most other people do, but if we look seriously and honestly around us in our social environments we know that MANY people are suffering – not just us.

There is no dependable, easy-to-use measurement tool available for research (or otherwise) to assess insecure attachment disorders so that we can connect ‘problems’ with their source.  But the ‘symptoms’ abounding around us in our culture easily let us know that what infants and children need to feel truly safe and secure in their earliest environment – in loving homes with safe and secure relationships with those adults infants and children are dependent upon in every way to take care of them – is NOT being provided for them.

Very often these insecurely attached children reach adulthood having no clue about HOW to go about majorly improving conditions of the lives of their own children.  Many people believe that, for example, adult-to-adult verbal and physical violence in the home, troubled and broken adult relationships, criminal activity and incarceration of adults important to children, drug and alcohol addiction, can’t REALLY affect little people.  These kinds of stresses/distresses in children’s homes IS traumatic to kids – right along with verbal and physical abuse that is directed at the little people of our nation.

These statistics are not even mentioning little people’s exposure to inadequate child daycare, homelessness and unstable housing conditions for families, poverty/unemployment/underemployment, lack of adequate nutrition, lack of healthy play or adequate adult supervision or loving and relaxed family play and story time, or even lack of parental involvement in children’s schooling.

All of these stressors affect the way infants and children build their body, their brain, their nervous system, their stress response system and their immune system.  We might think humans are an extremely tough lot who can survive ‘just fine’ no matter what the quality of signals a little person receives/received during their most critical physiological stages of development.

Yes, most of us do survive – like tough weeds.  Survival is NOT the same thing as being the BEST we can be in every way on every level of our existence.  Early trauma most likely changes the body-brain-mind-self of those who survive it.  A high price is paid, and most importantly that high price is passed right on to our offspring who CONTINUE to suffer from trauma-changed development that in turn affects the development of MORE offspring on down the generations.

In many ways these large portions of our American population suffer crippling in one important way or another.  We can say it is perfectly OK for adult relationships to disintegrate and fall apart – and maybe it is OK for the adults who think they prefer massive amounts of trauma drama in their lives.

But disintegrated relationships are NOT good for infants and children!  None of the patterns of social decay that these statistics are reporting are OK!   That we can limp like a bunch of emotional-social sick cripples through life ANYWAY just tells me that we have nearly lost sight of what true health and well-being even is!

Who cares?


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