Today I’m flipping through The Body Keeps Score, a pop sci review of the academic research on trauma to date.
I was quite surprised by this passage, on p. 150 of my copy:
The first time I heard Robert Anda present the results of the ACE study, he could not hold back his tears. In his career at the CDC he had previously worked in several major risk areas, including tobacco research and cardiovascular health.
But when the ACE study data started to appear on his computer screen, he realized that they had stumbled upon the gravest and most costly public health issue in the United States: child abuse.
[Anda] had calculated that its overall costs exceeded those of cancer or heart disease and that eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds, and suicide, IV drug use, and domestic violence by three-quarters. It would also have a dramatic effect on workplace performance and vastly decrease the need for incarceration.
Essentially, the ACE study seems to demonstrate that childhood trauma is upstream of a wide variety of burdensome problems.
Seems plausible that there are tractable interventions that reduce the effects & incidence of childhood trauma. Also the area seems neglected (continuing from p. 150):
When the surgeon general’s report on smoking and health was published in 1964, it unleashed a decades-long legal and medical campaign that has changed daily life and long-term health prospects for millions. The number of American smokers fell from 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 19 percent in 2010, and it is estimated that nearly 800,000 deaths from lung cancer were prevented between 1975 and 2000.
The ACE study, however, has had no such effect. Follow-up studies and papers are still appearing around the world, but the day-to-day reality of… the children in outpatient clinics and residential treatment centers around the country remains virtually the same.
Has anyone looked into this?