As the Trump administration continues to separate immigrant children from their families and warehouse them in tents and old Walmart stores, physical and mental health professionals are talking about the long-term damage being inflicted on the children.

More than 9,300 mental health professionals and 172 organizations have signed a petition pushing President Donald Trump to stop taking children from their parents. And the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Physicians have all issued statements in opposition of the practice, citing the irreversible impact.

The Washington Post culled studies and spoke to experts about their work with children who were separated from their parents. Here is what they said happens:

  • Increased heart rate and stress hormones, which kills dendrites in the brain that transmit messages in the short term.
  • Over time, that stress also kills neurons, which physically and psychologically alters their brains forever.
  • Lowered IQ later in life.
  • Broken fight-or-flight response systems.
  • Nearly doubled chances of being arrested as adults.
  • Increased chances of struggling with alcohol abuse and gambling later in life.
  • Heightened anxiety and depression as they age.

“If you take the moral, spiritual, even political aspect out of it, from a strictly medical and scientific point of view, what we as a country are doing to these children at the border is unconscionable,” Luis H. Zayas, dean of the school of social work at The University of Texas at Austin, told The Post. “The harm our government is now causing will take a lifetime to undo.”

Read the full article here.