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what is trauma?

Trauma, as it relates to mental health, is a psychologically distressing event or exposure to a pattern of behavior that is outside the range of the usual human experience. It creates intense fear and helplessness in the person directly experiencing or witnessing the trauma. 

Generally speaking, potentially traumatic events involve a major threat to one’s psychological and physical well-being. Potentially traumatic events may be life-threatening; to one’s own life or the life of a loved one. The impact of a potentially traumatic event may be related to the mental and physical health of the person, past traumatic experiences, the presence of coping skills, and the level of social and emotional support at the time of the potentially traumatic event.


Examples of events and situations that can lead to the development of psychological trauma may include:

  • Natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes

  • Interpersonal violence like rape, child abuse, or the suicide of a loved one or friend

  • Involvement in a severe car accident or workplace accident

  • Acts of violence such as: armed robbery, war, or terrorism

Image by Kat J

trauma symptoms

Difficulty Concentrating


Substance Abuse

Intense Anger or Irritability

Emotional Disregualtion

Anxiety & Fear

Eating Disturbances


Withdrawing from Others

Sleep Distrubances

Loss of Faith

Guilt, Shame &

Self Blame

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