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Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal
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Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,077 ratings  ·  162 reviews
A groundbreaking book showing the link between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and adult illnesses such as heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Childhood Interrupted also explains how to cope with these emotional traumas and even heal from them.

Your biography becomes your biology. The emotional trauma we suffer as children not only shapes our emotional lives
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Atria Books
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 ·  1,077 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Andrea McDowell
I saw this book on Saturday when returning another to the library.

I hemmed and hawed. Many of you know what I mean. Do I need another book on childhood trauma? Shouldn't I be over it already? Is this one going to have something to say that I haven't seen before? Can I stand to have people know that this happened to me, will they blame me for still feeling it? Do I want to log it on goodreads? Maybe I should keep it to myself.

I borrowed it (clearly) and read it on Sunday. I know, from experience,
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abnormal-psych
She might be a mad genius, bringing in the lay reader with high levels of sensationalism only to help the reader understand the complex nature of how environmental factors modify the necessary neurochemicals, hormones, and gene expression for optimal health throughout the lifespan. However, it seems grossly irresponsible to completely neglect the difference between correlation and causation. This author is filling the reader's head with a bunch of nonsense that isn't even close to being ...more
Morgan Blackledge
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Stupendous. If you're childhood was fucked up. And now you are. Here's why and how not to be.
Carol Peabody
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There were so many "ah-ha!" moments in it for me personally, that I'm sure my objectivity is a little clouded. I wish I'd had access to this sort of information as a young adult, and especially before marrying and then becoming a "mom". But I am also happy to now have the information to finish dealing with personal issues that I've probably always realized - at some level - derived from my upbringing, not to mention how my own parents (and THEIR parents) were raised. As I began reading, I was ...more
Mari McCarthy
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Learn how your reactions to childhood events (which we carry around in the our cells) contribute to our disease creation. Yes, our biography impacts our biology. Truly. This is the second Donna Jackson Nakazawa book I’ve read and once again her writing is compassionate and easy to understand. She shows us how we have the ability and power to heal ourselves. She provides many resources to help us in healing our biological wounds and gave me renewed confidence as I search for health care resources ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
I learned so much from this book. As I face my 50s and live with a few chronic illnesses, it's been important to understand all kinds of possible causes. The cause of childhood stress is one I wouldn't know about were it not for Donna's books. Beyond the cause or contributing factors information, this book covers solutions. And, of course, putting solutions in place is an important part of healing. Highly recommend this for anyone who lives with chronic illness.
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
HIGHLY recommended for anyone who has a family history of mental illness, addiction, abuse, incarceration, molestation, suicide, and persons with autoimmune diseases. Also recommended for anyone who grew up in a house full of crazy (however you define it for yourself).

Especially crucial reading for anyone interested in the fields of trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), public health, and the intersectionality of those fields.

No one thing explains everything, but this book explains A LOT!
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
Overall, I think this book did a good job of providing an overview of the topic in a concise and easy-to-read manner. I don't know a lot about the studies that were relied on, and feel the conclusions drawn may be somewhat overstated. Nonetheless, the book presents a compelling hypothesis that I think warrants further research and study.
Marcia Barnes
Aug 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I think the writer did a great job of defining the issue and presenting relevant science and data for cause and effect. I felt she missed on solutions and prevention and what she did offer came late in the reading.
Julia Torgrimso
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of my biggest problems with this type of non-fiction book is that the author spends most of the book discussing the problem but does not offer valid, helpful suggestions to make things better.

This book is different. The author not only offers suggestions to help you if you are the victim of childhood trauma but also gives ideas in how to help your child if they are the victim. These suggestions are quite helpful and doable.
Sara Budarz
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
You know that saying, that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? It turns out that while we have long assumed that was probably faulty logic, the more we learn about brains and brain plasticity and epigenetics, the more we now know for a fact it is crap: what doesn't kill you rewires you brain and leaves an imprint of trauma that not only leads to psychological issues down the road, but also, to health issues. Many, many, many health issues.
And even 'mild' traumas of childhood (being
This year, for whatever reason, I’ve been fascinated with the brain, which is why I wanted to read this book. Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal looks at childhood trauma and how it affects our brain and biology, and how we can reverse the effects this early disturbance may cause.

Nakazawa shares several people’s stories, in conjunction with scientific data, to illustrate how traumatic childhood events affect us physically and how it plays a role
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent resource for both therapists and patients. I think it's easier to read than The Body Keeps the Score and more accessible for people unfamiliar with the whole issue of childhood trauma.

It includes the checklist of Adverse Childhood Events so people can see for themselves what kinds of experiences are considered traumatic. Unfortunately, so many people who have suffered these kinds of events tend to think it was normal and accepted it as "the way it is" without
Sivananthi T
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book, simply because I have always analysed my own, my family's patterns in light of what experiences we had. Experiences of violence, poverty, trauma, sick parents all leave a mark on our view on life and of ourselves. A recognition that healing needs to happen both within a 'medical' setting as well as the 'inner' setting is essential. Books such as these advocate mindfulness and meditation. It was an interesting read.
Joan Porte
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The past is prologue. This is a very easy to read book which describes how childhood neglect and/or trauma has long-term consequences in our mental and physical health. A must read for anyone battling autoimmune and other debilitating illnesses for it may hold a hidden key from childhood.
Katrina Sauvé
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
very much more on 'how your biography affects your biology' than on 'how to fix it'

if looking for 'how to fix' this may not be the book for you (as it was not for me)
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it!

This is one of the most important books I have read in my life! I am going to use so much of this knowledge in my life.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: tbr-i-own
2.5 stars rounded up

I found the first half of this book to be confusing in how it was structured. Nakazawa seemed to jump from one idea to the next with no greater flow. However, I also found it really insightful and I learned a lot about how ACEs impact us as adults in a biologically tangible way. My chronic pain symptoms make a lot more sense in the context of the book. It’s validating to read play by play the cause and effect of childhood trauma on my brain and the rest of my body. Much more
Donna Hines
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Before even completion of reading this book I recommended it to my fellow readers on my FB page, "The Lost Self Life After Narcissism." That speaks to how well written it was. The research was superb and so very interesting.
This is what I posted to my readers and will again share here: It's no surprise that emotional trauma we face in childhood affects us as adults. Physical changes in our brain and health of our immune system. I recently came across this book by Donna Jackson Nakazawa that
Jada Roche
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
While there were a few moments of "huh, that makes sense" what I was really looking for were real solutions for fixing myself...the moment she started talking about Reiki I was done. I was already plenty aware of the impacts my childhood have had on me, I need a way to fix it. sadly, this didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.
Jessica Dugdale
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Giving this a four only because I felt there was some unnecessary repetition in place of stronger transitions, and also some distracting typos. But I love the connections between personal stories and scientific research from many different subspecialties. I think everyone should read this at some point.
Kristin Riding
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful and I learned a lot about myself.
Hailey Whitman
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book opens by introducing the ACE test, a test that deals with how much trauma one has experienced in life. This book shows studies on how greatly our lives are influenced by trauma experienced in childhood - how that plays out into adulthood - especially in the case of physical and psychological diseases.
Carla Mannes
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a therapist who specializes in adverse childhood trauma, this book is a must.

In fact I recommend that each of my adult clients read this book. Instead of wondering why, this book lays it out line upon line, precept on precept.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A more accessible and less triggering sharing of the concepts, consequences and resolutions for Adverse Childhood Events than The Body Keeps Score by Bessel van der Kolk. The case studies are easy to follow, meaning there are the right number to make them useful throughout the book rather than so numerous you are distracted.
I think every teacher, parent, and politician should read this. It keeps things clear and straight forward even when presenting some solutions that might seem “out there” or
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok

While the untrained eye may find what appears to be a lot of of answers in Childhood Disrupted, the dots don’t connect under scrutiny. Rather they seem to fade out into questionable and insubstantial solutions. The book is full of stories of horrific childhood experiences. Nakazawa does cite credible research on the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACE scores), but she dangerously reports correlation as if it were causation. Case histories follow the sections that describe research
Lucille Zimmerman
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is hard to read. Not because of the writing but because of the topic.

Two researchers using questionnaires from 28,000 Kaiser patients found a surprising and gigantic connection between certain painful childhood experiences and later debilitation of physical health.

They make is sound as if having a 3 or 4 was on the high side. I had a 7 and I was being conservative about my experiences. It could easily have been a 9. That's why it was painful to read. Yet, I'm glad researchers have
This is one of those books I feel ill-qualified to evaluate. Nakazawa is a medical journalist and someone who has dealt with chronic pain herself. I found her explanation of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) to be persuasive and compelling, and her citations consisted of medical experts with verifiable credentials, including many from the CDC. So why does this still feel like fringe science to me and why haven't I heard of ACEs outside the context of this book?

Perhaps the weakness of the
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, self-help, 2019
So I went to a shrink a few times and she recommended some books to me, cautiously, because she said that some self-help books can be retraumatizing. I remember thinking "Dang, you must have a really sensitive client base or something."

Nope! Nopetty Nope! Ho Lee Crap she was right.

(This is not one of the books she recommended btw) and, look, it's not like I've read a whole slew of self-help books but I've never read one that gave me anxiety attacks and paralyzing mood disorder stuff before.

Chelsea D'angona
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved the fact that there were so many references to other studies. The book was well researched.
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Award-winning journalist and internationally-recognized speaker Donna Jackson Nakazawa began writing at twelve years old, after her father passed away unexpectedly. Recording her thoughts and feelings in a journal helped her to make sense of a world without him. When she came to the last page of her diary, she wrote, “I think I’m going to be a writer.”

Later, in college, she joined the staff of
“Interestingly, recurrent humiliation by a parent caused a slightly more detrimental impact and was marginally correlated to a greater likelihood of adult illness and depression. Simply living with a parent who puts you down and humiliates you, or who is alcoholic or depressed, can leave you with a profoundly hurtful ACE footprint and alter your brain and immunologic functioning for life.” 2 likes
“For the rest of Kat’s childhood, she moved from one relative’s house to another’s, up and down the East Coast, living in four homes before entering high school. Finally, in high school, she lived for a few years with her grandmother, her mom’s mom, whom she called “G-Ma.” No one ever talked about her mom’s murder. “In my family, my past was ‘The Big Unmentionable’—including my role in putting my own father in jail,” she says. In high school, Kat appeared to be doing well. She was an honor student who played four varsity sports. Beneath the surface, however, “I was secretly self-medicating with alcohol because otherwise, by the time everything stopped and it got quiet at night, I could not sleep, I would just lie there and a terrible panic would overtake me.” She went to college, failed out, went back, and graduated. She went to work in advertising, and one day, dissatisfied, quit. She went back to grad school, piling up debt. She became a teacher. Kat quit that job too, when a relationship she had formed with another teacher imploded. At the age of thirty-four, Kat went to stay with her brother and his family in Hawaii. She got a job as a valet, parking cars. “I’d come home from parking cars all day and curl up on my bed in the back bedroom of my brother’s house, and lie there feeling desperate and alone, my heart beating with anxiety.” 1 likes
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