Excerpt from HealthZette
Written by Jennier Fallon
Psychologists are just beginning to understand how poverty changes the brain. When people are under constant stress about how to feed their families, how they can bear up under the stress of working three jobs, and how they will pay for the rent, utilities, and medical bills — their brains suffer under high levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
“Under high cortisol loads, [the amygdala] literally atrophies,” said Dr. Melinda Paige, a behavioral expert and professor in clinical mental health counseling at Argosy University in Atlanta, Georgia.