Thank you so much to Jaime this week for her wonderful blog post! -Britney Check out her book Life Beyond Chronic Pain
by Jaime Heidel TRIGGER WARNING-CHILD ABUSE DISCUSSION
Living with thyroid disease is so frustrating. Your tests say your thyroid is functioning “normally”, but the sweats, shaking hands, and weight issues clearly tell a different story (not to mention the other 40+ symptoms).
It seems like no matter where you turn, you end up with more questions than answers. For example, how did this happen to you in the first place?
It may surprise you to know that there is a strong link between childhood trauma and thyroid disease. The reason you haven’t heard about this from your doctor is because she likely doesn’t know about it yet.
But that’s no reason to keep you in the dark. There is a good amount of scientific evidence linking childhood trauma and thyroid disease, and the more you know about your condition, including its possible origins, the closer you’ll be to finally stabilizing it.
Women With PTSD-CSA at Increased Risk for Thyroid Disease
According to a study published in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry, women with post-traumatic stress disorder associated with childhood sexual abuse showed “significant elevations in Total T3 and the TT3/free thyroxine (TT3/FT4) ratio, the FT3/TT3 ratio.”
There were also “modest reductions in thyroid stimulating hormone” among PTSD-CSA women as compared with women who were not diagnosed with PTSD-CSA.
Higher levels of T3 are most commonly associated with Grave’s disease, toxic nodular goiter, and liver disease.
The ACE Study Confirms Link Between Childhood Trauma and Disease
The ACE Study is a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego. It is one of the largest assessments ever done on the correlation between childhood mistreatment and chronic health problems in adulthood.
The questionnaire has only 10 questions, and the higher you fall on the scale, the higher your risk of developing a chronic disease.
Those with a high ACE score may have more than one chronic condition. For example, you may be living with Grave’s disease, celiac disease, and PTSD. Or, perhaps you’ve been diagnosed with depression, chronic fatigue, and hypothyroidism.
Virtually any combination is possible as excessive and prolonged stress interferes with healthy immune, metabolic, and neurological function.
Disease Development Could Be Survival Instinct Gone Haywire
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, exposure to trauma has the potential to reshape the biology of a young child during critical developmental years.
Since nature causes us to automatically adapt to whatever type of environment we are living in, adverse experiences can cause the developing child’s system to wire itself for a dangerous and unpredictable world. This means your body may be programmed to overreact, leading to immune system, endocrine, and neurological dysfunction.
Unfortunately, it is often difficult for medical professionals to make this connection because it can take years (if not decades) for early traumatic experiences to manifest into physical or mental disease.
40 Percent of Women Physically Abused in Childhood Have Higher Odds
According to a study published in the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, “[E]ven after adjusting for 14 potential explanatory factors, women who had been physically abused in childhood had 40 percent higher odds of thyroid disorders than their non-abused peers.”
Over six decades of research has shown a strong correlation between stress and thyroid dysfunction. It has only been in the past 10 years or so that we’ve finally been able to narrow it down further and truly get to the root cause of many chronic illnesses.
Although there’s no way to turn back time, these findings will be of great benefit for generations to come. This means our children, their children, and so on, can lead better lives through early intervention and a more holistic approach to development.
If you have ever felt that your chronic illness is somehow your fault, now is the time to let that go. Learning that childhood trauma could have played a role in your thyroid disease can empower you by giving you a root cause and a place to begin your healing journey.
In my book Life Beyond Chronic Pain: The Step-By-Step Guide to Healing Chronic Illness Naturally, I delve a bit deeper into the connection between chronic disease and trauma. I also give you the tools you need to put your autoimmune disease into remission.
Even if natural treatments have not worked for you in the past, this guide can be your key to finally healing your body, mind, and spirit.
This guide leaves no stone unturned, and puts you, the individual, where you’ve always belonged—in the center of it all.
About the Author
Jaime A. Heidel is a professional freelance writer with a passion for natural health and wellness. After being sick from birth to age 22, a naturopathic physician finally gave her a reason for her lifelong mystery symptoms: Gluten intolerance.
Since discovering the profound connection between food intolerance, nutrition, and health, Jaime has made it her mission in life to help others struggling with chronic pain and autoimmune disease. She understands what it’s like to have an invisible condition that others don’t take seriously, and the emotional and psychological toll it can take on a person already suffering.
Jaime is a Connecticut native who has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pen. When not glued to her laptop, Jaime can be found hiking in the woods, haunting thrift stores, having tea or lunch with a good friend, getting down on the dance floor, or buried in a good book.