(Summary) Childhood Disrupted

Childhood Disrupted” by Donna Jackson Nakazawa explores the lasting impact childhood trauma can have on your biology.

The book’s premise centers around the negative (and on few ocassions, positive) impact stress can have on a child’s development into adult life.

Children are particularly susceptible to stress. In small doses, stress doesn’t pose an immediate impact and can in fact harden and mature a child by providing him with valuable life lessons he can use in the future.

But stress levels that are higher than the child’s coping capacity will leave lasting scars on their health that can go all the way down to the genetic level.

Because of this, adults who suffered through traumatic childhood experiences such as constant neglect, physical abuse are more prone to stress related ilnesses.

Another more pernicious side of traumatic childhoods is their impact on a person’s brains.

Magnetic resonance imaging has shown that victims of ACE’s (adverse childhood experiences), have a smaller prefrontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus. All of these are responsible for decision making, fear processing and emotional regulation. In cases of severe trauma, these brain components secrete different concentrations of brain chemicals that regulate our behavior.

Fortunately however, there are ways to heal and overcome these traumas.

These healing methods involve forgiveness and meditation. Combined, they help one process the negative emotions left by an ACE, and cleanse them away, even if just partially.