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What is trauma?

Trauma refers to a psychological or emotional response to an event or experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing, and that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope with it. Trauma can result from a wide range of experiences, including natural disasters, accidents, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or violence.

Diagnosing trauma

Acute and chronic trauma falls under a spectrum of disorders. The diagnosis of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) is most frequently given. Diagnoses are given when events or circumstances become emotional or behavioral responses that interfere with one’s life or cause distress to the individual for at least one month.

What are the symptoms of trauma?

Re-experiencing symptoms may include intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks related to the traumatic event or avoidance symptoms that may include efforts to avoid places, people, or activities that remind the person of the event. Arousal and reactivity symptoms may include hypervigilance, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. Mood and cognition symptoms may include negative thoughts or feelings, loss of interest in activities, and feelings of detachment or estrangement.

How to treat trauma

Treatment for trauma typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and self-care strategies to help individuals cope with their symptoms and improve their overall functioning.  Available treatment services include: