ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) refers to traumatic incidents in childhood. They were identified in the epidemiological CDC-Kaiser ACE Study that surveyed 17,000 participants. The Study looked at how 10 types of childhood trauma (ACEs) affected a person’s long-term health. They included:
- physical, emotional or sexual abuse;
- physical and emotional neglect;
- living with a family member a problem drinker or alcoholic or used street drugs
- was in a household with a family member who was depressed or mentally ill or attempted suicide;
- having parents who divorced or separated
- having a family member who was incarcerated
- witnessing a mother or step-mother being physically abused.
Secondhand drinking refers to the negative impacts a person’s drinking behaviors [or other drug use behaviours] has on others.
Drinking behaviors are typically unintentional (unless they are the behaviors a person exhibits when not drinking). They are the result of the ethyl alcohol chemicals in alcoholic beverages interrupting the brain’s normal cell-to-cell communication system while “waiting” to be metabolized by enzymes in the liver. This occurs at an average rate of 1 hour for each “standard drink,” which is defined as 5 ounces of table wine or 12 ounces of regular beer or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof hard liquor. Drinking patterns that cause drinking behaviors include binge drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism.
Common drinking behaviors include: verbal, physical, emotional abuse; neglect; blackouts; sexual assault; breaking promises to stop or cut down; shaming, blaming, denying; domestic violence; unpredictable behaviors; alcohol-induced crime; and driving while impaired, to name a few.
Coping with these drinking behaviors causes serious physical and emotional and quality of life impacts – especially for the family and within that, especially for the children. These impacts are the consequence of toxic stress. Toxic stress changes brain and body health and function, which can cause a person to experience migraines, anxiety, depression, stomach ailments, sleep disorders, autoimmune disorders, changes in eating habits, and so much more. Toxic stress also causes a person to adopt unhealthy, toxic stress-related, reactionary coping skills (explosive anger, physically lashing out, shutting down emotionally, as examples).
Click here for more on the Harms of Second-hand Drinking