Trauma has lasting adverse effects on a person’s functioning and physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration definition. SAMHSA informs that trauma can affect people of every race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, psychosocial background, and geographic region. A traumatic experience can be a single event, a series of events, and/or a chronic condition (e.g., childhood neglect, domestic violence). Traumas can affect individuals, families, groups, communities, specific cultures and generations.

Common Causes of Trauma

A traumatic experience can be a single event, a series of events, and/or a chronic condition (e.g., childhood neglect, domestic violence, exposure to violence). According to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, individuals may experience the traumatic event directly, witness an event, feel threat­ened, or hear about an event that affects someone they know. Events may be human-made, such as a mechanical error that causes a disaster, war, terrorism, sexual abuse, or violence, or they can be the products of nature (e.g., flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes). Trauma can occur at any age or developmental stage, and often, events that occur outside expected life stages are perceived as traumatic (e.g., a child dying before a parent, cancer as a teen, personal illness, job loss before retirement).

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

The National Institute of Mental Health determines that PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. The NMH indicates that nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.

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Author: Jeremy Farnum, Information Systems

Jeremy works for Lompoc Valley Medical Center.

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