A new study published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information has found that positive childhood experiences (PCEs) are critical for excellent mental health in adulthood. The greater amount of negative childhood experiences a person has, the more likely they are to experience poor health as an adult. These adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may lead to heart disease, cancers, or even addictions to drugs or alcohol. However, PCEs can help moderate these effects and may protect against their development.
Many people who experience traumatic childhood events turn to drug or alcohol use as a way to cope with the emotional pain. Often, this type of drug or alcohol use turns into an addiction that consumes every aspect of a person’s life. However, help is available for those who want to overcome adverse childhood experiences and live their best lives.
If you feel that adverse childhood experiences are fueling your addiction, our team can help. At Fort Behavioral Health, our addiction therapy programs use a combination of therapeutic approaches to heal trauma and lessen the desire to abuse drugs or alcohol. Reach out to our team today for more information.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) vs. Counter-ACEs
The first step is to understand what exactly adverse childhood experiences and counter adverse childhood experiences are.
For example, adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs, include:
- Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse
- Physical or emotional neglect
- An alcoholic parent or family member
- An incarcerated family member
- The absence of a parent through abandonment, divorce, or death
- A mentally ill family member
- Domestic violence between parents
On the other hand, counter ACEs include:
- Enjoying school
- Having caring teachers
- Opportunities for fun and enjoyment
- A predictable routine at home
- Comfortability with oneself
- Having a caregiver that provides a sense of safety
- Comforting beliefs
- Good friends and neighbors
The problem is that early negative childhood experiences occur during critical periods of a person’s life when the brain is developing. These experiences determine the function of the adult brain; therefore, dealing with negative childhood events can greatly impact the early brain’s social and emotional development. Positive experiences, or counter ACEs, can buffer against the negative effects of ACEs.
Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs)
Positive childhood experiences, or PCEs, are associated with lower rates of mental health issues. The odds of having depression or poor mental health as an adult are over 70% lower for people with higher levels of PCEs. Therefore, being socially and emotionally connected to people in positive ways protects against developing psychological issues such as depression and protects against the risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Conclusively, fostering positive childhood experiences may lead to better mental and physical health in the long term.
Therapeutic Options at Fort Behavioral Health
One of the ways to heal from a painful childhood is to immerse yourself in therapy programs. Some of the therapy programs that we offer at Fort Behavioral Health include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Somatic experiencing program
- Motivational interviewing program
Perhaps the most effective therapy option may be our trauma therapy program. This type of therapy focuses on addressing past events and developing strategies to overcome the emotions they carry.
Ease the Pain of Trauma and Addiction with Fort Behavioral Health
Social and emotional connectedness is vital for developing a foundation for lifelong health. Adverse Childhood Events can create a path to addiction due to their effects on the early development of the brain. At Fort Behavioral, we offer a nurturing space to support clients on their road to recovery. We seek to inspire clients to face their challenges, possibly born out of a negatively affected childhood, and foster hope for their future.