Early Childhood Experience, an Indicator for Distress?

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By blighg
Words 451
Pages 2
Early childhood experience, an indicator for distress?

We live in a busy world with all kinds of life events competing for our attention. It is no wonder that we drop the occasional ball when juggling different needs. Sometimes stressors converge and can overwhelm us. We are unable to bring the usual resilience to meet the challenges we are faced with.

It may be that home and work life stressors are just too much to bear and we need the help of outside agencies. This bucks our natural tendency to shoulder the problems and work through them independently to bring about successful solutions and outcomes.

Just talking through our problems with a good friend can be enough to support us through but on occasions resorting to a counsellor and sometimes medication is necessary and helpful.

What neuroscientists are finding is that there are some people who are more susceptible to stress than others. Brain imaging techniques [functional Resonance Imaging (fRMI)] show that structures in the limbic system of the brain associated with emotional responses , can suffer damage. This predisposes some individuals to significantly more emotional affects by stressors.

The HPA axis controls our reactions to stress and comprises of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands. When a perceived threat is experienced the HPA axis produces a number of hormones to engage the body in “flight or fight “mode. Exposure to chronic stress will cause neuronal damage in structures within the HPA axis by overproduction of cortisol from the adrenal glands.

Early exposure to abuse of most kinds and deprived sensory environments are markers for decreased size of the hippocampus which can modulate the response of the limbic system. The hippocampus is involved in learning and memory.

Young children with impaired brain structures relating to the limbic system will cope less…...

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