In the 1990s, the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) discovered a childhood exposure which dramatically increases the likelihood of negative physical and mental health outcomes in later life.
This exposure contributes to a whole array of social, personal and health problems among individuals affected. In high levels, it stifles social, emotional and cognitive development and hormonal systems; it can even alter the person’s very DNA.
What the CDC identified wasn’t an agent or a chemical, it was what they termed Adverse Childhood Experiences (or ACEs for short). ACEs are generally categorised into three groups: abuse, neglect, and family/household challenges.