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Healing from the Past: Understanding and Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences

Understanding ACEsOur childhood experiences, both good and bad, shape who we become as adults. While many of us have happy memories, others have faced traumatic events that still affect them today. These traumatic events, known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), can have a lasting impact on our health and well-being.

ACEs are stressful or traumatic events that happen during childhood. They can leave a child feeling overwhelmed, triggering a fight, flight, or freeze response in the body. This stress reaction affects the nervous system, and too much stress can cause a child’s brain and body to produce an overload of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can harm the brain’s function and structure. Because children’s brains are developing rapidly, this can be particularly harmful, changing how they learn, respond to stress, and make decisions for the rest of their lives. Childhood trauma can also lead to chronic diseases in adulthood, such as heart disease, depression, drug abuse, and even violence.

Catherine Watts, FSC’s Deputy Director, explains, “ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences, are the most significant long-term health concern facing children and adolescents. If the trauma from these experiences isn’t addressed, it can lead to serious conditions that affect a person’s physical, emotional, mental, social, and cognitive health.”

ACEs are more common than you might think. More than half of the adults in the US have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience. The more ACEs someone has, the higher their risk for lasting health impacts. But there is hope. If addressed early, ACEs do not have to determine the future. Caring relationships and access to support services can reduce the harmful effects of negative experiences and help a child’s brain develop in a healthy way.

That’s why programs like FSC’s C.A.R.E.S. (Children Advancing Through Recovery and Empowerment Services) Project are so important. This project provides therapy and support services to give kids the skills they need to cope with life’s challenges successfully.

Addressing ACEs and their impacts is crucial for fostering healthier, more resilient adults. At the Family Sunshine Center, we are committed to breaking the cycle of trauma and offering pathways to healing. Through our programs like the C.A.R.E.S. Project, we empower children to overcome their past and build a brighter future. By providing essential support and nurturing relationships, we can mitigate the effects of adverse childhood experiences and help children thrive. Together, we can create an environment where every child can experience hope and healing, beginning at the Family Sunshine Center.

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Need Help? Call us at 334.263.0218
(collect calls accepted)