Understanding Trauma

What is Psychological Trauma

Psychological Trauma

Trauma results from disturbing or distressing experiences. Trauma can disrupt a person’s thoughts, emotions, sensations, attachment and relationships. A traumatic event, particularly one involving a threat of physical harm, can develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

These symptoms can include:

  • Intense, distressing memories of the event
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Sleep issues
  • Anger and irritability
  • Depression
  • Social isolation

Trauma and Young Children: ACEs

When physiological trauma occurs early in life (known as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs), the impact can be lifelong. ACEs are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In Missouri, 46 percent of children have had at least one ACE.

Research shows ACEs can trigger stress reactions in children. Over a prolonged period of time, this stress (known as toxic stress) can inhibit healthy child development and even change the brain’s architecture. ACEs have been linked to numerous negative outcomes in adulthood, and research has increasingly identified effects of ACEs in childhood.

ACE’s can include:

  • Abuse -psychological, physical, sexual, incest
  • Severe neglect or loss
  • Victim/witness of political terrorism, nuclear disasters, acts of crime, domestic violence,
  • kidnapping, natural disaster, etc.
  • Living with someone who misuses substances
  • Living with someone who has a mental health problem
  • Having an incarcerated household member
  • Extreme stress that overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope

Call 913-742-4357 or visit our counseling page to learn more of schedule an appointment.


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