Thursday, April 3, 2014

My hope is for all of us

speed, meth, crystal, crank, tina, tweak, go-fast, ice, glass, uppers, black beauties, chalk, yaba etc.

"Methamphetamine - The only feature that greatly distinguishes this congener of amphetamine from amphetamine itself is the exceedingly large number of trade names under which this material is sold: to name some, Amphedroxyn, Apamine, Deofed, Desamine, Desoxedrine, Desoxo-5, Desoxyephedrine, Desoxyn, Desvphed, Detrex, Dexoval, Dexstim, D-O-E, Doxyfed Drinalfa, Efroxine, Lanazine, Methamphin, Methedrine, Methoxyn, Miller-Drine, Xorodin, Oxyfed, Oxydess, Premodrin, Normadrine, Xorodin, Semoxydrine, Stimdex, and Syndrox. There is no evidence that its action differs from that of amphetamine in any way except that the action on the cardiovascular system is somewhat less intense and the action on the central nervous system is somewhat more intense. This drug is probably abused more than any other of the group."
-- Diet pill (amphetamines) traffic, abuse and regulation: hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 92nd Congress, February 1972.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is touted as a resource by bio-psychiatry devotees, while it is maligned by others skeptical of it's scienticic validity.  It is a manual developed by a relative few, who vote on which behaviors are socially unacceptable and signify that a person has a "mental illness" or brain disorder.  In the case of a person labeled who does not agree to having a psychiatric diagnostic label applied, the person is given an additional diagnosis borrowed from neurology, "anosognosia;" which is a lack of insight.

What is most troubling to me about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is that is believed to be a resource based on scientific data by the uninformed. Subjective observation and opinion is considered to be the most unreliable type of evidence in science; yet it was heavily relied upon and even used as a substitute for empirical data by the APA when the DSM was first developed and in all subsequent revisions. Every other field of scientific study treats subjective data as if it is unreliable, and it's use is limited to supporting available empirical data. I'm not claiming there is no science behind the DSM; what I am pointing out is the APA relies on consensus which is a quasi-democratic political process; not a scientific one. Consensus is relied on in the absence of empirical data, not to support empirical data. Even educated opinions can not be the basis of ethical diagnostic criteria or ethical medical treatment algorithms and protocols. A medical degree and medicial license do not make professional opinions unbiased, or scientifically valid. Even a a consensus of educated subjective observations can't be empicical evidence that validates diagnostic criteria or treatment recommendations; consensus is a quasi-democratic political process, not a scientific method. Consensus also can't validate the specious claim that psychiatric diagnoses are diseases, or caused by neurobiological diseases or chemical imbalances that require psychiatric treatment. If a patient refuses to give consent for treatment, the APA endorses compelling the person to be forced to have psychiatric treament under color of law by petitioning for court orders requiring involuntary psychiatric treatment. Perhaps it is group delusion that causes members of the APA to believe consensus is a sufficient substitute for empirical data. It is not.

I started writing Involuntary Transformation September 4th, 2010 because of how the political process of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment has been carried out in my son's case.  In the summer of 2010 for the first time in over five years he had a crisis due to attempting to process his pain-filled childhood memories. He said he wanted to be hospitalized, and so his elder brother and I accompanied him to the Crisis Center.  Nancy Sherman, the Designated Mental Health Professional committed two felonies to have my son Detained under Washington State's Involuntary Commitment laws; committing perjury and forgery to "support" her Emergent Order to Detain.   Jeffrey Jennings, a psychiatrist, committed perjury (providing only the same false information Ms. Sherman provided in her original order, not first-hand information as the Law requires--he had no 'first-hand information).  Jennings 'treated' my son without regard for the Hippocratic Oath, or Medical Ethics; never speaking to anyone who knew Isaac the entire time he was his 'attending' physician.  The Deputy Prosecutor, Dan Polage,  and the attorney from Yakima County's Office of Assigned Counsel, Jennifer Lesmez,  both failed to conform to the Ethical Guidelines of the Legal profession--as both of these Officers of the Court were aware that perjured testimony was being used.  The Crisis Center is run by Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health and this medicaid provider shredded all the original Superior Court Documents in violation of Washington State Law.  The CEO Rick Weaver, told me, "We do it all the time."

I'm not a doctor, or an attorney; I am a mother.   I am outraged at the utter lawlessness with which psychiatry is practiced.  The events of a year ago were not the first time I have witnessed my son being seriously harmed by unethical "professionals;" and it may not be the last; but as God is my witness, I will not be silent about crimes victimizing my son.  It is MY little boy who is now a grown man struggling with the reality of being repeatedly traumatized by unethical mental health professionals that "were supposed to be helping me" but "had no compassion for me, mom" he stated shortly before his crisis in 2010.  He asked me in an agony-filled voice, "How could they take so much from me, mom?" I'm at a total loss to explain the callous disregard shown to my son.

My memories of the past almost twenty years are filled with instances--too many to count, of my son speaking of his pain-filled experiences. I have many times felt crushed by the knowledge I was not allowed to protect my own son. Worse, I was prevented from fulfilling his agonized pleas for rescue. These horrific experiences left me utterly devastated. I don't wish to forget my own experiences of bearing witness to my son's torture; I know some horrors must never be forgotten...

"IF we want to understand violence as a whole, we cannot leave any of its major manifestations in a fog of half-knowledge. But this is exactly what has happened with an unprecedented occurrence of mass violence, the deliberate killing of large numbers of mental patients, for which psychiatrists were directly responsible. To both the general public and the psychiatric profession, the details and the background are still imperfectly known. This is not only a chapter in the history of violence; it is also a chapter in the history of psychiatry. Silence does not wipe it out, minimizing it does not expunge it. It must be faced. We must try to understand and resolve it." FREDRIC WERTHAM, M.D A Sign for Cain An Exploration of Human Violence 1966

I have two reasons for writing the Involuntary Transformation and Systems of Care blogs...The first is in the hope it may help prevent another child from being mistreated by mental health professionals like my son has been; I believe it is the only way Justice can be served. Whether justice is served or not will not be determined by me; it will be determined by all of us. I sustain hope for Isaac's recovery and a better life for Isaac, his brother Nathan, and myself. My hope is not for my family alone, my hope is for all of us. Psychiatric diagnoses are arbitrarily applied and legally adjudicated under color of law to treat the individuals who are unwilling to be arbitrarily labled with a psychiatric diagnosis; unwilling to be "sucessfully treated," i.e. treatment compliant.

The other reason I write two blogs is my belief that if I were silent about what was done to my son and my family, I would be complicit in what are crimes against humanity. I will never be complicit. I witnessed Isaac being horribly abused and medical neglected by psychiatric researchers who acted under color of law when they tortured and disabled my son Isaac in a locked research facility.

From the British Psychological Association's Response to the American Psychiatric Association:
DSM-5 Development:
General Comments
"The Society is concerned that clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalisation of their natural and normal responses to their experiences; responses which undoubtedly have distressing consequences which demand helping responses, but which do not reflect illnesses so much as normal individual variation.

We therefore do welcome the proposal to include a profile of rating the severity of different symptoms over the preceding month. This is attractive, not only because it focuses on specific problems (see below), but because it introduces the concept of variability more fully into the system. That said, we have more concerns than plaudits.

The putative diagnoses presented in DSM-V are clearly based largely on social norms, with 'symptoms' that all rely on subjective judgements, with little confirmatory physical 'signs' or evidence of biological causation.  The criteria are not value-free, but rather reflect current normative social expectations.  Many researchers have pointed out that psychiatric diagnoses are plagued by problems of reliability, validity, prognostic value, and co-morbidity.

Diagnostic categories do not predict response to medication or other interventions whereas more specific formulations or symptom clusters might (Moncrieff, 2007).  Finally, disorders categorised as ‘not otherwise specified’ are huge (running at 30% of all personality disorder diagnoses for example).

Personality disorder and psychoses are particularly troublesome as they are not adequately normed on the general population, where community surveys regularly report much higher prevalence and incidence than would be expected.  This problem – as well as threatening the validity of the approach – has significant implications.  If community samples show high levels of ‘prevalence’, social factors are minimised, and the continuum with normality is ignored.  Then many of the people who describe normal forms of distress
like feeling bereaved after three months, or traumatised by military conflict for more than a month, will meet diagnostic criteria."  read the entire response: The British Psychological Association on DSM 5 

this is one of Isaac's favorite songs

Eli Lilly Amphedroxyn (methamphetamine) advertisement, 1951. 
New York State Journal of Medicine, Vol. 51, No. 1.

Elixir Amphedroxyn Hydrochloride (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, Lilly)
IS OFTEN PREFERABLE TO OTHER FORMS OF AMPHETAMINE ~ because ~ smaller doses produce longer cerebral stimulation, with a minimum of undesirable excitement and other side-effects.
When patients with depression, narcolepsy, alcoholism, or obesity are selected as suitable cases for stimulant therapy, Amphedroxyn Hydrochloride is a prudent choice of drug.
Contraindicated in cardiovascular diseases, especially when accompanied by hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and sensitivity to ephedrine-like drugs.
CAUTION ~ To be dispensed only by or on the prescription of a physician. Literature available to physicians on request.
Detailed literature on Amphedroxyn Hydrochloride are personally supplied by your Lilly medical service representative or may be obtained by writing to Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis 6, Indiana, U.S.A.
LILLY Since 1876 
*         *         *  vintage drug ad via Bonker's Institute of Nearly Genuine Research
first posted 8-5-2011  revised 4-17-12,  4-3-2014

Friday, August 9, 2013

AACAP Guidelines and Advocacy for Community-Based Systems of Care

first posted November 28, 2012 updated August 9, 2013
The AACAP is intentionally undermining the FDA 
black box warning on SSRIs:
via American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:
Guide for Community Child Serving Agencies on Psychotropic Drugs for Children and Adolescents

"Some psychotropic medications have FDA Black Box Warnings. Medicines with black box warnings are still FDA approved, but their use requires particular attention and caution regarding potentially dangerous or life threatening side effects. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) carry a black box warning that they may cause suicidal ideation or behavior, although the most recent review of the evidence is not  conclusive that SSRIs increase suicidal behavior. Families should work in consultation with their child's physician or other mental health professional to develop an emergency action plan, called a “safety plan”. This is a planned set of actions for the family, youth and doctor to take if and when the youth has increased suicidal thinking. This should include access to a 24-hour hotline available to deal with crises. AACAP recommends that family members discuss this with the provider if they are uncertain about a black box warning.7"(emphasis mine)

Community-Based Systems of Care

Clinicians who serve children and adolescents with complex mental health needs generally find themselves interfacing with multiple child-serving systems and community programs, including juvenile justice, child welfare, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and schools. AACAP advocates for the improvement of services in each of the systems to ensure children have access to a full array of prevention, early intervention, and treatment options.

To learn more about AACAP's clinical practice resources for community-based systems of care, click here.

Funding for Community-Based Systems of Care
Through the annual federal appropriations process, AACAP advocates for increased funding for federal agencies and laws that support state and community mental health treatment and services.
AACAP Policy Summary on FY 2013 Appropriations

Foster Care
A December 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office report discusses the use of psychotropic medications with children in foster care. The report highlights AACAP's Position Statement on Oversight of Psychotropic Medication Use for Children in State Custody: A Best Principles Guideline as the basis to assess states psychotropic drug monitoring programs for children in foster care. As a result, many states are adopting AACAP guidelines as they develop oversight systems.

Government Accountability Office Report:
Foster Children: HHS Guidance Could Help States Improve Oversight of Psychotropic Prescriptions 
AACAP Position Statement on Oversight of Psychotropic Medication Use 
for Children in State Custody: A Best Principles Guideline 
Children in state custody (definition of state custody: the state has assumed all parental responsibilities and decision-making for the child) often have biological, psychological, and social risk factors that predispose them to emotional and behavioral disturbances.  These risk factors can include genetic predisposition, in utero exposure to substances of abuse, medical illnesses, cognitive deficits, a history of abuse and neglect, disrupted attachments, and multiple placements.

Resources for assessing and treating these children are often lacking.  Due to multiple placements, medical and psychiatric care is frequently fragmented.  These factors present profound challenges to providing high quality mental health care to this unique population.  Unlike mentally ill children from intact families, these children often have no consistent interested party to provide informed consent for their treatment, to coordinate treatment planning and clinical care, or to provide longitudinal oversight of their treatment.  The
state has a duty to perform this protective role for children in state custody.  However, the state must also take care not to reduce access to needed and appropriate services.

Many children in state custody benefit from psychotropic medications as part of a comprehensive mental health treatment plan. However, as a result of several highly publicized cases of questionable inappropriate prescribing, treating youth in state custody with psychopharmacological agents has come under increasingly intense scrutiny.  Consequently, many states have implemented consent, authorization, and monitoring procedures for the use of psychotropic medications for children in state custody.  These policies often have unintended consequences such as delaying provision of or reducing access to necessary medical care.

Basic Principles 
 The AACAP is the organization representing professionals most skilled in the art and science of child psychopharmacology.  Accordingly, the AACAP has developed the following basic principles regarding the psychiatric and pharmacologic treatment of children in state custody:
1. Every youth in state custody should be screened and monitored for emotional and/or behavioral disorders.  Youth with apparent emotional disturbances should have a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation.  If indicated, a biopsychosocial treatment plan should be developed.
2. Youth in state custody who require mental health services are entitled to continuity of care, effective case management, and longitudinal treatment planning.
3. Youth in state custody should have access to effective psychosocial, psychotherapeutic, and behavioral treatments, and, when indicated, pharmacotherapy.
4. Psychiatric treatment of children and adolescents requires a rational consent procedure. This is a two-staged process involving informed consent provided by a person or agency authorized by the state to act in loco parentis and assent from the youth.
5. Effective medication management requires careful identification of target symptoms at baseline, monitoring response to treatment, and screening for adverse effects.
6. States developing authorization and monitoring procedures for the use of psychotropic medications for youth in state custody should use the principles in this document as a guide and should assure that children and adolescents in state custody get the pharmacological treatment they need in a timely manner.

Best Principles Guideline 
 For states planning to develop programs for monitoring pharmacotherapy for youth in state custody with severe emotional disturbances, the AACAP proposes the following guidelines. Guidelines are categorized into minimal, recommended, and ideal standards.

1. State child welfare agencies, the juvenile court, or other state or county agencies empowered by law to consent for treatment with psychotropic medications, in consultation with child and adolescent psychiatrists, should establish policies and procedures to guide the psychotropic medication management of youth in state custody.
States should:
a) Identify the parties empowered to consent for treatment for youth in state custody in a timely fashion [minimal].
b) Establish a mechanism to obtain assent for psychotropic medication management from minors when possible [minimal].
c) Obtain simply written psychoeducational materials and medication information sheets to facilitate the consent process [recommended].
d) Establish training requirements for child welfare, court personnel and/or foster parents to help them become more effective advocates for children and adolescents in their custody [ideal]. This training should include the names and indications for use of commonly prescribed psychotropic medications, monitoring for medication effectiveness and side effects, and maintaining medication logs.

Materials for this training should include a written “Guide to Psychotropic Medications” that includes many of the basic guidelines reviewed in the psychotropic medication training curriculum.

2. State child welfare agencies, the juvenile court, or other state or county agencies empowered by law to consent for treatment with psychotropic medications, in consultation with child and adolescent psychiatrist, should design and implement effective oversight procedures that:
a) Establish guidelines for the use of psychotropic medications for youth in state custody [minimal].
b) Establish a program, administered by child and adolescent psychiatrists, to oversee the utilization of medications for youth in state custody [ideal].
This program would: 
i. Establish an advisory committee (composed of agency and community child and adolescent psychiatrists, pediatricians, other mental health providers, consulting clinical pharmacists, family advocates or parents,
and state child advocates) to oversee a medication formulary and provide medication monitoring guidelines to practitioners who treat children in the child welfare system.
ii. Monitor the rate and types of psychotropic medication usage and the rate of adverse reactions among youth in state custody.
iii. Establish a process to review non-standard, unusual, and/or experimental psychiatric interventions with children who are in state custody.
iv. Collect and analyze data and make quarterly reports to the state or county child welfare agency regarding the rates and types of psychotropic medication use.  Make this data available to clinicians in the state to improve the quality of care provided.
c) Maintain an ongoing record of diagnoses, height and weight, allergies, medical history, ongoing medical problem list, psychotropic medications, and adverse medication reactions that are easily available to treating clinicians 24 hours a day [recommended].

3. State child welfare agencies, the juvenile court, or other state or county agencies empowered by law to consent for treatment with psychotropic medications, should design a consultation program administered by child and adolescent psychiatrists [recommended].

The consultation program:
a) Provides consultation by child and adolescent psychiatrists to the persons or agency that is responsible for consenting for treatment with psychotropic medications.
b) Provides consultations by child and adolescent psychiatrists to, and at the request of, physicians treating this difficult patient population.
c) Conducts face-to-face evaluations of youth by child and adolescent psychiatrists at the request of the child welfare agency, the juvenile court, or other state or county agencies empowered by law to consent for treatment with psychotropic medications when concerns have been raised about the pharmacological regimen.
4. State child welfare agencies, the juvenile court, or other state or county agencies empowered by law to consent for treatment with psychotropic medications, should create a website to provide ready access for clinicians, foster parents, and other caregivers to pertinent policies and procedures governing psychotropic medication management, psychoeducational materials about psychotropic medications, consent forms, adverse effect rating forms, reports on prescription patterns for psychotropic medications, and links to helpful, accurate, and ethical websites about child and adolescent psychiatric diagnoses and psychotropic medications [ideal]  (emphasis mine)

AACAP "plan" is not in children's best interest

My primary problem with how the Academy is addressing the off label drugging of vulnerable children, is the lack of individual and collective responsibility and the lack of ethical integrity the AACAP demonstrates by failing to hold it's members accountable. There is no acknowledgement, or even a mention of the corrupt psychiatrists, the academic researchers, and "Key Opinion Leaders" whose corrupt work products laid the foundation to market psychiatric diagnoses and teratogenic drugs as effective "medical treatment" for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral difficulties without evidence the drugs were safe or effective for children and adolescents.

It's as if we are supposed to pretend there is no connection between psychiatrists collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry on research, CME, symposiums and the AACAP's annual convention and the proliferation of off label prescriptions of psychotropic drugs to children? Exaggerated claims about safety, efficacy and effectiveness of psychotropic drugs were made by psychiatrists who were never censured or discredited for making fraudulent claims; nor has any of their corrupt work product been removed from the evidence base, or retracted from professional journals.  No psychiatrist has ever been held accountable for functioning as a marketeer for the pharmaceutical industry. What kind of distorted "medical judgement" causes a professional to use corrupt information to formulate treatment guidelines for using teratogenic drugs on children with emotional and behavioral problems without evidence of safety and effectiveness? It's unethical to recommend the use of dangerous drugs with serious and even fatal risks as a "safe and effective" way to "treat" the emotional and behavioral problems of vulnerable children. 

It is a relatively small number of individual psychiatrists whose unethical behavior propelled this criminal enterprise while the majority were merely complicit in their silence. Unethical  professionals were aided and abetted by their colleagues who continue to refuse to repudiate blatantly unethical conduct and unsafe treatment standards based on marketing strategies.

In all reality, a pharmaceutical marketing agenda permeates psychiatry's consensus based diagnostic criteria and standard treatment proocolss. Many psychiatrists are willfully blind to the iatrogenic injuries they inflict upon patients. Akisthesia, Tardive Dyskinesia, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, and brain damage are characterized as  "acceptable risks," "tolerable side-effects," or worse, attributed to the psychiatric diagnosis the patient was given, if even recognized at all. The primary beneficiaries of this standard of care are the pharmaceutical companies and their stockholders. It's criminal; it violates the Human Rights of their minor patients and their parents.

Professionals with ethical integrity, critical thinking skills and without conflicts of interest would not be "monitoring" the use of fraudulent consensus based treatment algorithms/marketing agenda, but would rely on ethical medical research data and use ethical medical standards.

Why would any reasonable person believe that a group with a history of dishonest, unethical behavior can critically assess and correct long-term ethical failures? To date, there has not been a good faith effort to stop using corrupt research data, or retract phony 'peer-reviewed' journal articles; let alone stop using stop using unethical standards of care derived from corrupt research, or entirely based on consensus...There is no way the medical malfeasance will be stopped by the same psychiatric professional groups that have implemented, condoned and supported it--- It is insulting all things considered, are we are seriously expected to believe that monitoring the ongoing off label use of dangerous teratogenic drugs on vulnerable children is a good faith effort to first do no harm, much less, in any child's "best interest?!" Forgive me, but since when have we, as a society, entrusted criminals to stop their criminal behaviors and to police themselves?

The AACAP recommends that "State child welfare agencies, the juvenile court, or other state or county agencies...create a website" with links to "helpful, accurate, and ethical websites about child and adolescent psychiatric diagnoses and psychotropic medications" is in effect, recommending that other child serving agencies to do what the AACAP has utterly failed to do. What is truly needed is for these professionals to make actual, meaningful amends for their own egregious ethical failures.

It is time for psychiatrists to demonstrate to the world they are professionals worthy of being granted an opportunity to regain the trust they have shattered. Denying responsibility and failing to be accountable for what individual psychiatrists and professional groups have done to lose the public's trust only further undermines the potential for regaining it! Psychiatric professional groups must find the courage to hold individual psychiatrists who violate ethical research standards and who fail to obtain informed consent for treatment, and use unethical medical practices, accountable; instead of remaining silently complicit. 

I doubt the writers of this Best Principles guideline stopped to consider that one of their suggestions would require that referrals for information to the National Institutes of Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness,  the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry would need to stop since all of their websites have biased, inaccurate information about psychiatric diagnoses and psychotropic drugs for the general public.  It would be a meaningful gesture for the AACAP to lead the way and remove the biased and inaccurate information from it's own website replacing it with accurate, and ethical information as this Position Statement and Best Principles Guideline recommends...

Doctors who value integrity and honor their primary ethical duty, i.e. serving the "best interests" of their patients, would not turn a blind eye to unethical conduct; or continue to use standards developed from tainted research.

It takes humility and fortitude to be accountable. Trust is earned; it's not issued with a medical license!

Antipsychotic Medication Use in Medicaid Children and Adolescents: Report and Resource Guide From a 16-State Study 

photo from Just Ducks

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change


  Center on the Developing Child - Harvard University

Toxic Stress: The Facts
The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the healthy development of the next generation. Extensive research on the biology of stress now shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body (especially the brain), with damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan.

Learning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy child development. When we are threatened, our bodies prepare us to respond by increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones, such as cortisol. When a young child’s stress response systems are activated within an environment of supportive relationships with adults, these physiological effects are buffered and brought back down to baseline. The result is the development of healthy stress response systems. However, if the stress response is extreme and long-lasting, and buffering relationships are unavailable to the child, the result can be damaged, weakened systems and brain architecture, with lifelong repercussions.

It’s important to distinguish among three kinds of responses to stress: positive, tolerable, and toxic. As described below, these three terms refer to the stress response systems' effects on the body, not to the stressful event or experience itself:

Positive stress response is a normal and essential part of healthy development, characterized by brief increases in heart rate and mild elevations in hormone levels. Some situations that might trigger a positive stress response are the first day with a new caregiver or receiving an injected immunization.

Tolerable stress response activates the body’s alert systems to a greater degree as a result of more severe, longer-lasting difficulties, such as the loss of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a frightening injury. If the activation is time-limited and buffered by relationships with adults who help the child adapt, the brain and other organs recover from what might otherwise be damaging effects.

Toxic stress response can occur when a child experiences strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity—such as physical or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, exposure to violence, and/or the accumulated burdens of family economic hardship—without adequate adult support. This kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.

When toxic stress response occurs continually, or is triggered by multiple sources, it can have a cumulative toll on an individual’s physical and mental health—for a lifetime. The more adverse experiences in childhood, the greater the likelihood of developmental delays and later health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression. Research also indicates that supportive, responsive relationships with caring adults as early in life as possible can prevent or reverse the damaging effects of toxic stress response. more here

Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain

New research suggests that exceptionally stressful experiences early in life may have long-term consequences for a child's learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health. Some types of “positive stress” in a child's life—overcoming the challenges and frustrations of learning a new, difficult task, for instance—can be beneficial. Severe, uncontrollable, chronic adversity—what this report defines as "toxic stress"—on the other hand, can produce detrimental effects on developing brain architecture as well as on the chemical and physiological systems that help an individual adapt to stressful events. This has implications for many policy issues, including family and medical leave, child care quality and availability, mental health services, and family support programs. This report from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains how significant adversity early in life can alter—in a lasting way—a child's capacity to learn and to adapt to stressful situations, how sensitive and responsive caregiving can buffer the effects of such stress, and how policies could be shaped to minimize the disruptive impacts of toxic stress on young children.
Suggested citation: National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2005). Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain: Working Paper No. 3. Retrieved from

hat tip: Child in Mind


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