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Traumatic experiences are sudden and unexpected events outside the range of normal human experiences, that threaten life, health and/or personal integrity of a person or others, and to which the person responds with intense fear, horror or helplessness. Normal stress-related reactions to trauma, many of which normalize with time, are fear and anxiety, the avoidance of reminders, fantasies and dreams, recollections of the event, sadness and anger, guilt and self-blame and concentration and sleep problems.

The trauma- and stressor-related disorders are serious psychological reactions that develop in some individuals following exposure to a traumatic or stressful event such as childhood neglect, childhood physical / sexual abuse, combat, physical assault, sexual assault, natural disaster, an accident or torture.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) usually presents before age five and is characterized by serious problems in emotional attachment to others. These children rarely seek comfort when distressed and are minimally emotionally responsive to others. RAD results from a pattern of insufficient caregiving or emotional neglect that limits an infant’s opportunities to form stable attachments. Children who are adopted from foreign orphanages are commonly affected, particularly if they were removed from their birth parents during the first weeks of life.

Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder is characterized by a pattern of behavior that involves culturally inappropriate, overly familiar behavior with unfamiliar adults and strangers. Like RAD, this disorder results from a pattern of insufficient caregiving or emotional neglect that limits an infant’s opportunities to form stable attachments.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is characterized by significant psychological distress lasting more than a month following exposure to a traumatic or stressful event.

Acute Stress Disorder is similar to PTSD but the duration of the psychological distress last only three days to one month following exposure to a traumatic or stressful event.

Adjustment Disorders are characterized by the development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor (e.g., problems at work, going off to college). Adjustment disorder symptoms vary from person to person but must occur within three months of the stressful event and once the stressor has ended the symptoms do not persist more than six months.

Educational Resources

Support Groups

Find a Mental Health Care Provider

 Find a Treatment Facility

Resources (these should link to 3 different PDF files)

Trauma Related Offerings at HHC

Additional Resources

TED Talk: Nadine Burke Harris – How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

 

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