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I learned the impact of prolonged exposure to stress from my foster child [washingtonpost.com]

 

By Jenn O'Connor, The Washington Post, June 6, 2020

You know what stress is, right? You’re late for work, your car won’t start, gas costs more than you expected. We’ve all been there, and it’s not pleasant, that palm-sweating, heart-racing anxiety. Luckily, it’s not long-lasting — not toxic.

What is toxic stress? It’s prolonged adversity and/or abuse — not having enough to eat or being exposed to violence. It’s the kind of stress that puts you on edge and keeps you there, day after day after day.

If you’re familiar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Kaiser Permanente study from the 1990s, you know that factors such as divorce, domestic violence or having an incarcerated parent are called adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Four or more ACEs can result in chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. In the long term, living with ACEs or other negative factors, such as poverty, can literally change your brain chemistry.

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