A recent article in thje NY Times discusses the role that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) plays is determining one's health later in life. It asks us to:
"Imagine if scientists discovered a toxic substance that increased the risks of cancer, diabetes and heart, lung and liver disease for millions of people. Something that also increased one’s risks for smoking, drug abuse, suicide, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, domestic violence and depression — and simultaneously reduced the chances of succeeding in school, performing well on a job and maintaining stable relationships? It would be comparable to hazards like lead paint, tobacco smoke and mercury. We would do everything in our power to contain it and keep it far away from children. Right?"
This essay is a good introduction to this important, and oft neglected, area. For full article see "Protecting Children from Toxic Stress.