How Does Stress Affect A Child’s Brain?

Feeling constantly stressed out and anxious is not a pleasant experience for anyone. Children and teens who struggle with continued anxiety are even less prepared to deal with it than adults are. They do not usually have the emotional stability an adult has because their brains have not finished developing.

It turns out that children who experience sustained anxiety on a regular basis may have changes in their brain structures. According to an article on PsychCentral, the particular structure connected to emotion (the amygdala) may be affected by excessive stress and anxiety in children.

The writer describes how the changes in the amygdala can affect children’s mental health later in life. These highly anxious children may be more vulnerable to developing depression and other mental health conditions as adults.

Children who have anxiety issues usually have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a phobia, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). These conditions were once thought of as “adult” illnesses, but mental health workers are finding that they are increasingly prevalent in children who are under eighteen.

Children and teens need to be taught how to handle their stress in a healthy, productive way. Teaching kids to exercise to burn off anxiety, for example, can benefit them emotionally and physically.

If you want to read the article mentioned above, you can do so by following the link just below. The article describes the research study used to find the information about child anxiety and changes in the brain.

Photo Credit: Sh-ootingStars via Compfight cc