Trauma is now understood to be a far more complex and common phenomenon among people.
Thankfully, emerging research, clinical practice, and holistic approaches to care have yielded promising options to both identify and manage it. Once almost exclusively associated with soldiers returning from war, trauma and its impact extends into everyday people in their everyday lives. Independent of socio-economic status, education, age, race, culture, and gender, trauma can change who we are to ourselves, and who we can be to others.
Exposure to traumatic events such as neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse and domestic violence are events that typically manifest in a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, experiences as common as divorce, stressful work environments, complicated family dynamics, grief and health challenges, and a host of other events can have a similar impact on the brain as that of more complex trauma.
Additionally, partners and caregivers of trauma victims can experience what is called vicarious trauma as a result of being closely associated with someone with a trauma history.
Each of the aforementioned situations can result in the development of physical and/or psychological symptoms that may include anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, hyperarousal, avoidance, sleep disturbance, trouble concentrating, substance abuse, and engaging in risky behavior as a means to cope with the traumatic event(s).