Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Tolson 4 TEARS* Reviews "Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology"

Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Childhood Disrupted examines the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and adult onset illness and disease. The author’s information is based on the ground-breaking research called ACE: Adverse Childhood Experience, spear-headed by Vincent J. Felitti, M.D. and Robert  Anda, M.D. in conjunction with the CDC. The foundation of the research is the ACE survey, which measures ten types of childhood trauma. The results of the study indicate that chronic unpredictable toxic stress increases the risk of health consequences.

Ms. Nakazawa, a science journalist, explains: “Adverse childhood experiences can lead to deep bio-physical changes in a child that profoundly alter the developing brain and immunology in ways that also change the health of the adult he or she will become … Childhood adversity damages us on a cellular level in ways that prematurely age our cells and affect our longevity.” The toxic stress erodes the developing child / adolescent brain so that the individual is less able to deal with subsequent stressors. Nakazawa sites specific case histories of the relationship between childhood trauma and adult illness, blending scientific study with personal narratives. 

Childhood Disrupted is informative in detailing the connections between childhood adversity and depression / childhood adversity and suicide / childhood adversity and immune disease, etc. This knowledge can empower those individuals with traumatic experiences to approach the medical community with evidence culled from research; the knowledge can enlighten practitioners towards more compassionate care and treatment of such individuals.

Also included in the book is a “Resiliency Questionnaire” that helps the reader to understand the strengths and support that impacts overcoming adversity. Additionally, Donna Nakazawa includes a chapter on parenting well, with methods to help mitigate children’s exposure to trauma.

As someone who scores too high on the ACE survey, I applaud this book for its significant contribution to my personal healing journey. I’ve learned that healing is not a matter of will-power and self-discipline; I can’t outsmart a brain that’s been fundamentally damaged by multiple traumas. But I can re-train my brain through various re-processing techniques that Ms. Nakazawa suggests, such as EMDR, meditation, neurofeedback, and guided imagery.


I highly recommend Childhood Disrupted as a resource for awareness and insight as to the repercussions of adverse childhood experiences over the course of a lifetime.

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted 


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