By Randy Moraitis, MA, CIP, BCPC

Adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs, are adverse or traumatic childhood experiences that damage a child’s developing brain in such a way that the effects can show up years later. ACES can cause chronic disease, mental illness and other serious issues.

“ACEs” comes from the CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study which showed that childhood trauma leads to the onset of adult of chronic diseases, depression and other mental illness, violence and being the victim of violence.

The ACE study has published 70 research papers and hundreds more research papers have been published based on the ACE study.

The researchers measured these 10 ACEs:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • A family member who is depressed or diagnosed with other mental illness
  • A family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • A family member in prison
  • Witnessing a mother being abused
  • Losing a parent to separation, divorce or other reason

The ACEs study is extremely significant because ACEs cause chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease, as well as mental illness and violence.

Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH did an amazing TedTalk on this issue which I highly recommend. Here is a link: TedTalk on ACEs.

As a counselor, coach and interventionist I find this research extremely interesting and helpful in understanding my clients. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. My email is and my phone is 949-303-8264.

About Randy Moraitis

Randy is married to Kim and they live in Laguna Niguel. Together they have a blended family of five adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. (If you don’t believe Randy he will gladly show you pictures!)Randy is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) and expert in helping families affected by addiction and/or mental health issues. He is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and is both licensed and ordained as a pastoral counselor. He has five professional coaching certifications and loves working with clients on executive coaching, life coaching, wellness coaching and recovery coaching. Randy has a master’s degree with emphasis in theology and counseling, a bachelors degree in management and leadership, and a certificate in health and fitness with emphasis in exercise physiology and sports psychology from UC Irvine. He has been helping groups, individuals and families get mentally, physically and spiritually healthy in Orange County for over 25 years.