More evidence that chronic stress is bad for your brain:
Children and adults with post-traumatic stress disorder have increased sensitivity to non-threatening stimuli - like a tone.
Over time (for instance, survivors of childhood abuse), adults who persisted with post-traumatic stress have smaller hippocampi and decrease blood flow in the hippocampus during memory tasks. The thought is that chronically elevated steroids destroy hippocampal neurons over time. Importantly, this study used controls that also survived abuse, but didn't have PTSD.
It's essential to address and treat chronic stress, anxiety, or PTSD. Parents who have adopted children with significant early life stressors should also be alert to this potential for delayed neurological injury. Recent evidence suggests trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is quite effective and better than child-centered therapy only (see links).
PTSD, hypervigilance, and fMRI
Stress, Childhood Trauma, hippocampus
Relaxation & Autism
Stress and Young Children. ERIC
The Optimistic Child
National Child Traumatic Stress Network - Links
Trauma focused CBT more effective than child centred
Stress Management For Parents
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Jet Lag is Bad For Your Brain