What Toxic Stress Does to a Child's Brain - and How to Heal It - futuresTHRIVE

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One quick google search and you will learn that toxic stress is a response that can occur when a child experiences strong, frequent and or prolonged adversity. This can include physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse, mental illness, exposure to violence or accumulated burdens of family economic hardship without adequate support. Turn on the news and you will see Covid-19 has exacerbated, contributed to and/or highlighted all of the above. So what? We can’t solve what we don’t know about. We can’t heal what we don’t know exists. Stigma robs us of these conversations. Early assessment can empower these conversations. And the time is now.

Article highlights include:

  • In our quick-fix culture we are still geared toward treating the symptom, like depression or anxiety, and not the underlying cause.”
  •  “Adverse childhood events (ACEs) and small-t traumas are experiences that overwhelm a child’s capacity to process core emotions like sadness, fear and anger.” … “If core emotions are continually suppressed, they put stress on the mind and body. Too many emotions, coupled with too much aloneness, in persistently triggering environments, make it difficult, if not impossible, for a child to feel safe and calm.”
  • “The remedy for a child’s symptoms of distress is not necessarily medication or going alone to a psychotherapist. Children need to find a safe way to express their emotions, have them validated by their parent and other family members, and know their feelings are ok.”