A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems, and what we can do to break the cycle.
A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems and what we can do to break the cycle.
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego—a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual trauma—who galvanized her to dig deeper into the connections between toxic stress and the lifelong illnesses she was tracking among so many of her patients and their families. A survey of more than 17,000 adult patients’ “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs, like divorce, substance abuse, or neglect, had proved that the higher a person’s ACE score the worse their health—and now led Burke Harris to an astonishing breakthrough. Childhood stress changes our neural systems and lasts a lifetime.
Through storytelling that delivers both scientific insight and moving stories of personal impact, Burke Harris illuminates her journey of discovery, from research labs nationwide to her own pediatric practice in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in The Deepest Well will represent vitally important hope for change.
“The Deepest Well . . . offers a powerful—even indispensable—frame to both understand and respond more effectively to our most serious social ills.” —David Bornstein, New York Times
“Can severe childhood stress cause adult stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s and more? Yes, says Harris, a pediatrician who began researching the biological effects of abuse, divorce and other stressors after treating a boy who stopped growing following a sexual assault. There’s no way yet to erase the damage, but Harris developed a written screening test and strongly advocates exercise, mindfulness, diet and talk therapy as remedies. An extraordinary, eye-opening book.” —People, Book of the Week
“The Deepest Well is more than a riveting medical story—it’s a must-read guide for recognizing, understanding and treating a condition that many will find in our own homes.” —BookPage
“Get the book. Read the book. Share the book . . . The Deepest Well is about avoidance, therapy, and healing for the children who have ACE in their lives. The country needs Dr. Burke Harris’s book.” —ThreeKeyYears.org
“A heart-breaking, world-shaking, revolutionary book. In The Deepest Well, Nadine Burke Harris uncovers the once-hidden story of why we are the way we are. And she offers a new set of tools, based in science, that can help each of us heal ourselves, our children, and our world.” —Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed
“This ultra-smart and compassionate book delivers revelations about what is really going on—in our bodies, in our families, in our communities—as a result of childhood toxic stress, as well as targeted solutions for individual healing. My Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) test result is a nine out of ten. When I needed it, one person extended the hand of hope and help to me. It saved me. This book has the power to extend that hand to countless others.”—Ashley Judd, author of All That is Bitter and Sweet
"The Deepest Well is a rousing wake-up call, challenging us to reimagine pressing questions of racial and social justice as matters of public health. The research and stories shared in this highly engaging, provocative book prove beyond a reasonable doubt that millions of lives depend on us finally coming to terms with the long-term consequences of childhood adversity and toxic stress.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
“The Deepest Well is a heartbreaking, beautiful book about what might be the most important single issue facing our country's disadvantaged populations: the prevalence of childhood trauma. Relying on her work as a compassionate physician and first-class scientist, Burke Harris weaves together groundbreaking research with touching personal stories. The result is a gripping book that should convince everyone that we have a serious problem, and that unless we address it the losers will be our nation's children.”—JD Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy
“This powerful work book brilliantly exposes and explores one of the most critical health issues we face today. Dr. Burke-Harris combines a scientist's rigor with a compassionate doctor's heart to paint an unforgettable picture of what is at the center of what ails so many of our communities. Anyone who cares about people who sometimes struggle should read this book.”—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy
"This important and compassionate book further sounds the alarm over childhood trauma—and what can be done to remedy its effects."—Kirkus, starred review
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