Tag Archives: Center for Disease Control

The Persistence of Trauma, Problems in Adulthood

Time conceals rather heals wounds, and traumatic experiences convert to disease later in life.  Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) cause diseases that carry into adulthood, as well as numerous psychological issues and addiction.  (Read about the mind-body connection, part 1 and mind-based healing solutions, part 2)

A long-term study from Denmark, explored a number psychological factors that may or may not have adverse outcomes on the children.

The Danish study determined that parental factors most likely to create either violent or suicidal tendencies in adulthood are 1) parents who used marijuana; 2) having parents who are sociopaths or 3) having parents who attempt suicide.   In other words, marijuana abuse is far more serious in predicting adverse behavioral outcomes than other parental mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and alcoholism.

Salvador Dali , The Persistence of Memory, 1931: Time goes on, but the conscious mind may not know how memories hidden in our body and brain persist. The effects of early trauma are carried into adulthood. Photo: MoMA, New York

What is Known about ACEs?

Because the research is so extensive, we are coming to understand some of the precise mechanisms by which biography turns into biology.  Heart disease, diabetes, all forms of auto-immune disease (a growing problem), addiction and obesity are connected to high ACE scores.   While choices such as smoking, maintaining a good or bad diet and exercise are within a person’s control, ACEs are not.

Today there are more than 1500 studies about how ACEs affect the mental and physical health.  The exploration into ACEs began with an accidental discovery by Dr. Vincent Feletti of Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.  His obese patients who had high rates of cancer and heart disease also had high rates of childhood trauma.  Dr. Feretti teamed up with Dr. Robert Anda of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) whose specialty was the link between heart disease and depression.

Drs. Anda and Feretti conducted a huge study on childhood trauma and disease between 1995 and 1997.    The information they discovered can be revolutionary in terms of treatments linking mental and physical health.   They found that 2/3 of those who suffer chronic disease had traumatic childhoods. In other words, genetics is not the only predictor of susceptibility to disease; experiences also play a crucial role.

It is interesting that two causes of death — strokes and diabetes — do not correlate with high ACE scores.   However, chronic pain and addiction are highly correlated to traumatic childhoods, just like autoimmune diseases, heart disease and obesity.

There’s Also Substance Abuse

Victims of trauma will often use marijuana, alcohol and other drugs to create a numbing effect, and to allow disassociation.   Marijuana and heroin have the greatest numbing effect, writes Janina Fisher, PhD., in a paper on Traumatic Abuse and Addiction. 

When the numbing is too much and the victims need to feel energized and alive again, stimulants such as cocaine and opiates can be used.  Other chronic marijuana users become anxious and get prescriptions for Xanax to cope with anxiety. The need to use multiple drugs becomes a cycle, and the addicts of today tend to develop multiple addictions.

This fragile coping mechanism often blows up when drugs users have families.  Raising children and needing to care for another person will expose the inability of drug-abusing parents to maintain an equilibrium.

Multigenerational Drug Abuse

Yasmin Hurd of New York University writes of an additional risk.  She spoke about neuroepigenetics and addiction vulnerability at the Neuroscience conference on November 16, 2016.  She believes marijuana is much more addictive than most people acknowledge. Her research demonstrates that both adolescent marijuana use, as well as exposure to THC in utero, makes epigenetic changes to the brain, priming it for greater susceptibility for later addiction to opiate drugs.

Hurd concludes that future generations who use marijuana are more susceptible to heroin addiction. Children of drug users often carry a legacy of having been abused or neglected. Since they grew up in homes where drug use was normalized, they will tend to do the same.

Another problem is that medical marijuana practitioners are encouraging pregnant women to smoke pot for morning sickness and for breastfeeding.  Dr. Steven Simerville explains the reasons why we should be concerned about the mental development of children whose mothers did not protect them from THC during crucial stages of life.

Today, it’s not ‘just’ marijuana.  The marijuana of today is at least five times stronger than it was in the 1970s.   (Read Part 4 to understand more about how we are creating new generations of traumatized children.)

Please follow and like us:

Challenges in Care of Drugged Babies

Drugged Babies are a Growing Problem

Last week the Center for Disease Control reported a growing number of drugged infants.  Babies are born addicted to opioids, particularly in rural areas.  These frail newborns experience opiate withdrawal symptoms – shaking,  vomiting and diarrhea.

Dr. Steven Simerville revealed that 7-10% of babies born in his hospital test positive for THC at birth.  He’s the head of pediatrics at a hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, where many mothers are using marijuana.   THC in breast milk poses a risk to babies’ developing brains.  For this reason, one hospital in Colorado no longer recommends breast feeding.

A recent Journal of Pediatric Research published an article about infants exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke.   The babies, between one month and two years of age, needed to be hospitalized for bronchiolitis.   The THC showed up in their urine.

Opioids may interfere with parenting instincts. Cannabis use is often a cause of child neglect when parents forget about their children.

Against all Obstacles, We Must Keep the Mother – Child Bond

Newborn infants need to be with their mothers for their security and well-being.  Newborns instantly turn to the mom’s voice and respond to her touch.  it’s not possible for fathers or grandparents to sooth in the same way.  The bond is crucial to a baby’s mental and emotional development.  Furthermore, the World Health Organization recommends breast-feeding for the first two years of life.

Mothers of newborns, regardless of their addictions, should not be forced away from their babies.  Even mothers who are in jail should not be separated from their infants and toddlers.

Last week in New Hampshire, Hope on Haven Hill opened for eight mothers struggling to overcome opioid addiction.  There are at least two other such group homes in New Hampshire.  There’s a need for more places like Haven Hill to support mothers and encourage them to get off of drugs.

National policy should do everything to stop maternal substance abuse in its track and to keep moms with their children.  Drugged babies may grow up to have substance abuse issues.  They may have difficulties in behavior and learning.

It’s a sad day in the United States when preventable drug overdose deaths kill more than 50,000 people a year.  Deaths from misuse of legal and illegal drugs outnumber traffic fatalities, the next biggest cause of accidental deaths.

Congress has set up a commission to study the “failed war on drugs.” The committee will consider alternatives to prohibition.   Isn’t it the fact that we have given up on prevention the real reason for our drug epidemic ?

Here’s other articles on marijuana, pregnancy and breast feeding.

Please follow and like us: