A trend that I have noticed on my intake forms from new clients over the past 4-6 months is that there are 2 questions answered that breaks my heart. Both are yes/no questions.
Question #1: Did you feel safe growing up?
Question #2: Have you ever been abused?
I can say more often than not, I have seen more ‘Noes’ when asked if they felt safe growing up and I have seen more ‘Yeses’ when asked if they have ever been abused. And a common ailment in those answers are autoimmune conditions. Is there a direct correlation? I wouldn’t rule it out but that’s just based on my observation.
I’ve had conversations about this with colleagues as well as I’ve talked about these similarities in my workshops. But what I didn’t know, is that my speculation has already been quantified.
I was recently introduced to the ACE study. I hadn’t heard of it but as it was described, I had to go find it. The ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences) was conducted between 1995-1997 and eligible for follow up through 2005. ACEs included childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; witnessing domestic violence; growing up with household substance abuse, mental illness, parental divorce, and/or an incarcerated household member.
In an autoimmune analysis based on those results, the outcome was hospitalizations for any of 21 selected autoimmune diseases and 4 immunopathology groupings. 64% reported at least one ACE. First hospitalizations for any autoimmune disease increased with increasing number of ACEs. Compared with persons with no ACEs, persons with >or=2 ACEs were at a 100% increased risk for rheumatic diseases.