Traumatic Childhood? Welcome to the (Really Big) Club

Filed under: In The News, Health


Say "ohm." Relax. You're not alone when it comes to carrying mental baggage. Credit: Getty


Here's a bit of news to perk up your holiday spirits: The majority of people out there are as messed up as you are.

A survey by the Centers for Disease Control reveals 59 percent of adults still tote about emotional and psychological baggage from childhoods that profoundly sucked.

Misery may not always love company, but at least you can quit moping about feeling abnormal.

Abnormal is the new normal, and, for someone as messed up as you, you're probably doing bloody well under the circumstances.

Those circumstances include being beaten, berated, molested or bullied as a kid -- or watching those things happens to other people. Or maybe your particular brand of poison includes divorced parents, drug abuse, mental illness or the death of a loved one.

Whatever bad craziness goes down in childhood, more than half of those surveyed tell the CDC it continues to haunt and affect them to this day.

CDC researchers say it's good to get these skeletons out of the closet. By knowing so many people have them, according to their report, health care providers can boost their efforts in child abuse prevention, parent programs and other means to spare children the trauma their parents endure.

Researchers surveyed 26,229 adults from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee and Washington state, and participants were asked about their childhood experiences. Some of the particulars:

  • 29.1 percent reported substance abuse by themselves or a family member
  • 14.8 percent reported physical abuse
  • 12.2 percent reported sexual abuse
  • 26.6 percent reported parental separation/divorce
  • 19.4 percent reported living with someone who was mentally ill
  • 16.3 percent reported witnessing domestic violence
The results were published Dec. 16 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a publication of the CDC.

"State-based surveillance of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can provide guidance for the allocation of maltreatment prevention strategies and trauma-related intervention services," the authors write in MMWR. "In addition, more research is needed to disentangle the specific role each ACE plays in the development of health problems later in life."

Meanwhile, relax. Yes, you're messed up. But it's a messed-up species.

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