Examining the Relationship Between Toxic Stress Caused By Adverse Childhood Experiences and Mental Health Disorders
Gorder, Nicole M.
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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are a term coined by Felitti et. al (1998) and can be defined as an identified set of adversities that coexist within a child’s home. This unstable environment can significantly increase the chances of toxic stress development. The repeated activation of the body's stress response system not only causes wear and tear of the body’s allostatic load but also risks permanent alteration to the architecture of a developing brain. Specifically, the overactivation of hypothalamic pituitary gland axis, amygdala, hippocampus, and hormones being hyper secreted, which have all been linked to different mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This project aims to examine the idea that toxic stress caused by ACES offers a strong correlation between an environment and long-term mental health issues.