Mclean Hospital

About Trauma

Learn More About PTSD and Other Trauma-Related Conditions

Trauma knows no boundaries. It affects people of every background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. Research has shown that traumatic experiences are associated with both behavioral and physical health conditions, especially trauma that occurs during childhood. With proper care, individuals can recover from psychological trauma and learn to heal and manage their symptoms.

The consequences of trauma and violence can include long-lasting effects. Exposure to trauma at an early age affects brain development, and the rates of post-traumatic stress in adolescents and adults is on the rise. Early exposure to violence and trauma are major risk factors for lifelong health issues and early death. Trauma-related disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder, both of which have effective treatments to support individuals on a pathway to recovery.

Patient and clinician talk outside
Trauma affects people of every background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, and so on

PTSD can occur if one has been through a traumatic event and is having trouble dealing with it. While it is normal to have some anxiety after such an event, it usually goes away over time. With PTSD, the anxiety is more intense and keeps coming back. Often the trauma is relived through nightmares, intrusive memories, and flashbacks (vivid memories that seem real). The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with relationships and make it hard to cope with daily life. With proper psychiatric care, PTSD can be treated and individuals can feel better.

Dissociation is a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memory, and sense of identity. Dissociation falls on a continuum of severity. Mild dissociation is often like daydreaming, getting “lost” in a book, or when you are driving down a familiar stretch of road and realize that you do not remember the last several miles. A severe and more chronic form of dissociation is seen in dissociative identity disorder, once called multiple personality disorder, and other dissociative disorders.

Learn More About Trauma

You may find these resources valuable to understand more about trauma, PTSD, and dissociative disorders: