Science has now for years been studying the link between adverse childhood experiences and emotional and health issues later in life. The results of the studies that are coming in unanimously show that stresses in childhood do affect an individual not only later in life but most likely for the rest of his life. As with any kind of childhood disturbance, effects of anxiety in childhood will also show later in life, in different ways, be it on an emotional, cognitive, physical, or socio-economical plane.
A recent study confirms that adverse childhood experiences predispose for emotional issues later on
According to a study conducted at The Ohio State University, presented recently at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting, mast cells — immune cells that release histamine during inflammatory and allergic reactions — have a significant role in altering brain development after adverse childhood experiences.
The study looked at the activity of mast cells in the brain of rats, which were separated into groups based on three indicators, the amount of stress and they type of stress (prenatal, single stress after birth, and chronic) they experienced and their sex. The results? The rats exposed to chronic stress, which also included being separated from their mother for lengths of time, had, unlike unstressed rats, not only a very different mast cell activity in the brain but also had 30% more mast cells. Another takeaway from this study was the fact that male rats have more mast cells overall when compared to female rates, which is in line with findings in humans that show males are potentially more predisposed to negative effects of adverse childhood experiences than females.
How does this mechanism of chronic stress look in humans?
We all experience stressful situations and are met with some form of adversity almost on a daily basis – it’s how we learn and develop. However, when stressful situations are ongoing and extreme, the body will try to adapt. The heart rate will rise, as will blood pressure and stress hormones, but unlike in the case with positive stress, they will not return to baseline. This physiological disturbance then results in impaired brain and other organ development, which predisposes an individual for illness and emotional disorders later in life.
What does all of this mean for your child?
If your child has experienced some form of adversity early in life, chances are the effects of it will show by the time they reach puberty in the form of anxiety, depression, anger issues, attachment issues, and so on. These disorders are not only the result of something that happened before, but they also perpetuate the cycle by bringing on more adversity, which is why it’s important to face them head-on. Some of the things that help with these issues and their effects are things like meditation, various relaxation techniques, exposure to nature, building healthy relationships with others, and physical activity, all of which you can model for them as it’s the best and the fastest way that your child can implement them.
Asheville Academy can help
Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning differences, and other behavioral or emotional challenges.
With the help of our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program, our students grow closer to a healthier life. We use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to help our students move forward at Asheville Academy.
For more information about getting help at Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.