Healthcare forum discusses effects of adverse childhood experiences

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Doctors, mental health experts, and social workers gathered in Charleston to discuss how negative childhood experiences can carry into adulthood.

They looked at the results of the “ACE” test, or Adverse Childhood Experience Questionnaire. The higher the score, the more amount of toxic stress in a child’s life and the more likely they will suffer from conditions like heart disease, obesity, and depression as adults.

Co-Chair of the West Virginia ACES Coalition, Kathy Szafran, says “It isn’t who you are and your whole identity, but it does give you an indicator of what your experiences [are], and how intense they’ve been, and how they could possibly impact your long term health.”

Health experts say the negative impact of bad childhood experiences can be lessened by making sure a child has a caring, trusted adult in their life.

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