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September 14, 2021
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What’s Causing All This Stress?

When it comes to our children these days, they are more stressed than ever. Recent studies show that adolescents and young adults are five to eight times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression than kids who lived at the height of the Great Depression, said William Stixrud, clinical neuropsychologist and faculty member at Children’s National and the George Washington University School of Medicine, in an interview with WTOP, a radio station in Washington, D.C. He added that in the last several years, there’s been a tremendous spike in anxiety disorders, depression, and chemical use in young people.

“All of these are stress-related disorders,” he said.

So what’s causing all this stress? To start, young people—and their parents—are sleeping less than they did 20 and 30 years ago. Also, technology has created less downtime for kids, and competition generated by college admissions and the job market is great.

The effects of excessive stress is damaging—both in the short and long term—because it interferes with one’s ability to function socially, emotionally and academically. 

“Stressed kids can’t learn. The brain does not focus well; it does not integrate information, it does not remember information well when it learns,” said Stixrud, co-author of “The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives,” who also says being highly stressed disrupts the architecture of the brain and places kids at a greater risk for anxiety and depression. 

“And so kids who are chronically stressed are just more likely to be even more easily stressed as they get older,” Stixrud said.


To learn how to help your child handle stress download the MASKmatters app and read the Generation Stress issue or add the hard copy to your MASK Library 

Available on apple and google play

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