ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

A child’s traumatic experiences when young may adversely affect their health when they become adults according to researchers at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University as printed in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Deeply stressful trauma like extreme poverty, emotional and physical abuse, substance abuse, maternal depression, chronic neglect, and family violence can establish biological “memories” which contribute to a body’s inability to deal with obesity, diabetes, substance abuse, and psychiatric disorders later on in life. This stress affects brain development, organ systems, as well as increase the likely hood of suffering from stress related diseases and cognitive impairment (affecting language, reasoning, judgment, reading and writing).While some stress is healthy for the body and mind of a child in learning how to cope with challenges, these other forms of “toxic stress” are unhealthy.

These diseases are the mainstays which cripple our society with health costs. According to researchers prevention occurs through education of early care professionals, parents and child welfare officials who remedy the problem.