(HealthDay News) -- A young child who has chronic anxiety may have trouble learning, Harvard University researchers say.
Fears of the dark, monsters or strangers are common and are considered normal and usually temporary. But when fears extend to physical, sexual or emotional abuse, they can affect a child's developing brain, the researchers noted.
The school's Center on the Developing Child examined animal brains, finding that frequent activation of the body's stress-response system could disrupt the efficiency of brain circuitry and lead to immediate and long-term physical and psychological problems.
The researchers concluded that putting traumatized children in more secure environments may help restore their senses of safety, control and predictability.