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Scope of the Problem

When left undiagnosed and untreated, Childhood Traumatic Stress (CTS) can affect people over the lifespan, increasing demands on health and human service systems. Surveys of national data reveal the following statistics:

  • Approximately four million adolescents have been victims of a serious physical assault, and nine million have witnessed serious violence during their lifetimes.
  • Every year, up to 10 million children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence.
  • Over 300,000 children in the United States are injured in motor vehicle accidents each year.
  • Fires injure about 40,000 children each year.
  • More than 25 percent of abused children require special education programs.
  • The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study found that individuals with four or more of the ten adverse life experiences (including child abuse and/or neglect, domestic violence, parental loss and parental substance abuse) are:
    • Nearly 2 times more likely to smoke cigarettes
    • 4 ½ times more likely to engage in drug abuse
    • 7 times more likely to suffer from chronic alcoholism
    • 11 times more likely to abuse drugs via injection
    • 19 times more likely to have attempted suicide
    • More likely to have health problems (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and compromised immune systems, etc.) that put them at risk of early death
    • Have double the risk of obesity
    • Often develop mental illness such as depression