Toxic Childhood Stress: The Legacy of Early Trauma and How to Heal

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A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems and what we can do to break the cycle.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as an innovative, crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was her patient Diego – a boy who had stopped growing four years earlier after a sexual trauma – who galvanized her to dig deeper into the connections between toxic stress and the lifelong illnesses she was tracking among so many of her patients and their families. A survey of more than 17,000 adult patients’ Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, like divorce, substance abuse, or neglect, had proved that the higher a person’s ACE score the worse their health – and now led Burke Harris to an astonishing breakthrough. Childhood stress changes our neural systems and lasts a lifetime.

Through storytelling that delivers both scientific insight and moving stories of personal impact, Burke Harris illuminates her journey of discovery, from innovative research labs nationwide to her own pediatric practice in San Francisco’s poverty-ridden Bayview, Hunters Point.

For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in The Deepest Well will represent vitally important hope for change.

Author: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

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