Childhood Trauma May Shorten Life By 20 Years

"That's one very promising venue," said Anda, "and I think we need to find others that can be broadly applied to every family."

Briggs noted that intervention can be a critical step, but prevention even more so.

"Early intervention is incredibly important, and often helps to ameliorate the effects of trauma," she said. "When we can identify children in need of help early on, and get them those needed services, we are giving them the best chance at recovery. However, prevention is even more important, as there may come a time when, even with intervention, the risk factors are too many and overwhelm the child's capacity to recover."

However, as Myers-Walls noted, a traumatic childhood can be overcome.

"I think it is important to realize that events that occur early in life are important and should not be overlooked. But it is also important to realize that these trends do not predict individual cases," she said.

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