Stress can have a huge effect on our health as an adult, from affecting the quality of our sleep to increasing our risk of having a heart problem. And because stress doesn’t show much side effects, we only know that something is wrong with our health when the problem is already worse. No wonder it’s called “the silent killer”. If this is the impact of stress to your health, can you imagine what it does to your little one?
There are two types of stress and these are:
This is the kind of stress that you feel when you are anticipating an event like a wedding or a huge test, this is usually referred to as a normal stress which disappears after the event is done.
Bad stress, on the other hand, is the type of stress that doesn’t go away which can lead to other medical conditions such as triggering anxiety, depression, insomnia and the like.
What is Toxic Stress?
As the name suggests, this is a type of stress that doesn’t go away and has a dangerous impact to the mind and body. A good example here is when parents, instead of helping their children with their studies, threatens them with punishment that they cannot focus on anything else. And when they do fail to meet the expectations of their parents, more pressure and stress are added on their shoulders, leaving them miserable.
Unfortunately, there is more to toxic stress than just making children feel miserable. It actually affects their overall health too. Here’s how toxic stress can affect your children.
Increased risk of addiction
Children who are often subjected to stress are highly likely to turn to substance abuse to avoid wallowing in their emotions and pain. Getting addicted provides them with temporary relief. Studies have shown that toxic stress and addiction are linked to one another.
More vulnerable to mental problems
According to studies, people whose family has chronic stress during their childhood are more prone to depression when they become adults compared to those who had a happy childhood. There is also about 43% of these individuals being unresponsive to treatments or therapies. Although not all cases of depression stem from toxic stress, it can still contribute to a person’s risk.
Poor immune system
Our body’s response to stress can happen within a millisecond, but our immune system responds slower. If the stress that your child feels is just short, it will not affect the immune system at all. On the other hand, if stress becomes chronic, chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol will be flowing through the body constantly which affects the body’s ability to fight off any invaders in the body. And because the immune system is not functioning one hundred percent, they become prone to various illnesses.
Susceptibility to chronic pain and migraines
What else are the effects of toxic stress in children? Well, it appears that it can contribute to the development of migraine which can happen earlier. Children who have been subjected to mental and physical abuse are more likely to suffer from chronic pain like migraines, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and even chronic fatigue just to name a few.
Higher stress response in adulthood
Studies show that even when adults are no longer exposed to abusive environs, they are still prone to higher stress response on everyday situations like getting caught in a traffic jam and the like. This can affect a person’s personal relationship and can even lead to physical and mental problems too if not dealt with as soon as possible.