What do Childhood Trauma, Perimenopause and Mental Health Have to do with One Another?

childhood trauma and perimenopause

What do Childhood Trauma, Perimenopause and Mental Health Have to do with One Another?

Let's dive in together...


Adverse Childhood Experiences “ACEs” refers to three specific kinds of adversity children faced in the home environment: various forms of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. Your ACEs score is measured using an online tool (listed below).

- ACEs research shows the correlation between early adversity and chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance use problems in adolescence
and adulthood (1)

- Toxic stress explains how ACEs ”get under the skin” and triggers biological reactions that lead to those outcomes; it describes the effects of excessive activation of stress response systems on a developing brain, as well as the immune system, metabolic regulatory systems, and cardiovascular system. (2)

- ACEs & mental health: research demonstrates higher ACEs are associated with increasing risks of conditions including depression, anxiety, panic reactions,
hallucinations, psychosis and suicide attempt. (3)

- ACEs and MDD: One 2017 study showed the number of ACEs pre puberty increased risk of developing a MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) across the female life span and during the menopause transition. (4)


Perimenopause & mental health: While not a problem for everyone transitioning through menopause, the risk of mood changes and symptoms of depression and anxiety are higher during perimenopause, even in women without a history of major depression. (5)

Whilst none of these studies tell us high ACEs score + perimenopause = a guaranteed significant mental health episode, they AT LEAST raise red flags for those of us with high ACEs to be AWARE of these increased risk factors and VIGILANT to our own mental health & fitness during this
transition time.


You matter and your mental health matters.




References & Further Reading:
As always, please seek professional medical or mental health support if you need support. In Australia, Lifeline offers 24 hour / 7 day per week support via chat or by phone on 13 11 14.

Adverse Childhood Experiences
You can do the ACE questionnaire online and find more information here

References for Further Reading

(1) Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

(2) Centre on the Developing Child Harvard University

(3) Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

(4) Epperson, N et al, Journal for Clinical Psychiatry

(5) Australasian Menopause Society 



Books and Podcasts on Trauma and Unravelling Their Impacts on Health


-> Unbroken: The Trauma Response is Never Wrong by MC McDonald. You can also listen in to our podcast ep on the menoPAUSE podcast here:

Unbroken: The Trauma Response is Never Wrong with MC McDonald


-> In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness by Peter Levine

-> Dr Aimie Apigian podcast episode on menoPAUSE podcast: 

Unmasking Trauma: Connecting Childhood Experiences & Chronic Disease with Dr Aimie Apigian


-> The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Traumaby Bessel van der Kolka

-> Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved
Parents by Lindsay C Gibson 


-> My pod ep on the menoPAUSE podcast with Paula Rastrick: Trauma, Sensitivity and the Body - Brain Connection with Paula Rastrick

In Appreciation for Our Inner Autumn (aka Perimenopause)
Why Do We Find it So Hard to Take Care of Ourselves?


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