Toxic stress occurs in children when they experience prolonged episodes of physical or emotional abuse, neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness or economic hardship without adult support.
This affects children in ways far more detrimental than typical stress. It makes children more likely to develop problems such as heart disease, stroke, asthma, obesity and diabetes later in life.
Several organizations received a $1.1 million Bethesda Inc. grant to team up with pediatric primary care practices to reduce toxic stress and assist with child development. Physician practices will work with parent coaches who will help these children and their families through adverse situations.