Trauma

Defining Trauma

Trauma is a pervasive problem. It results from exposure to an incident or series of events that are emotionally disturbing or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.

Experiences that may be traumatic include:
  • Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse
  • Childhood neglect
  • Living with a family member with mental health or substance use disorders
  • Sudden, unexplained separation from a loved one
  • Poverty
  • Racism, discrimination, and oppression
  • Violence in the community, war, or terrorism
The three main types of trauma are acute, chronic, or complex.
  • Acute trauma results from a single incident.
  • Chronic trauma is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence or abuse.
  • Complex trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature.

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