Childhood Stress Is A Toxic Killer In Adulthood As 'Resilience' Documentary Highlights

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald May 02, 04:47 am

Various health issues increase the risk of death in adulthood but the documentary "Resilience" highlights a different kind of toxic killer that experts are just beginning to understand. It's called childhood stress and it affects individuals in the same way as serious medical problems like heart disease, or perhaps even worse.

"Resilience" director James Redford learned about the grave effects of childhood stress in adulthood while reading a 1998 study from scholars Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Redford used his movie, from KPJR films, to explain the slow destruction and lasting trauma of a person's mind and body due to exposure to negative elements as a child, such as poverty, war, violence, a parents' divorce or separation, or a parent's imprisonment.

"It's a mentally ill relative, or a verbally abusive father, or emotionally abusive parents, or an unstable situation, or no food, or you don't know where your parents are," Redford said, as per The Guardian. "Your body will continue to have that biological response if you are in stress."

Redford relayed every child typically doesn't have the capacity to handle these kinds of stress but as Felitti and Anda's study showed, some kids exposed to ACEs had their body's chemical responses changed over time. They became the kids who, no matter how much they're told to "suck it up" or man up and deal with life's problems, cannot easily cope better as adults. These kids were also the ones at higher risk for developing depression, substance abuse problems, anxiety and serious physical conditions, otherwise termed as effects of ACEs.

The unfortunate thing is, as the presented in the "Resilience" documentary, ACEs cannot be reversed. The effects can be treated with medication or therapy, or the children, now as adults, can try to establish good experiences or relationships. The triggers to the trauma, however, will remain.

The adults with ACEs, which come at different levels, have to learn to cope in different ways or this could mean the end of their life. In short, their childhood stress makes them resilient individuals. Learn more about "Resilience" in the video below.


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