The Truth About Trauma

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Stress is a common thing for all of us to experience daily. However, if we’re unable to cope with disturbing events or have a strong response to extreme stress, it’s often considered trauma.

It’s completely normal to feel affected by a traumatic event. But trauma can impact many parts of our lives, can be living under the surface, and can affect each one of us differently. So how can we know the warning signs of trauma? How can we help our loved ones—or ourselves—navigate trauma? And how can we help destigmatize the condition and its associated myths?

Audience Questions

Patricia Mangones, PMHNP-BC, shares the intricacies of trauma, signs and symptoms of the condition, ways to help navigate traumatic experiences, and answers audience questions about trauma.

  • Could you explain what psychological trauma actually is?
  • What is the difference between trauma, PTSD, and acute stress disorder?
  • Is there a difference between secondary trauma and vicarious trauma?
  • Are there differences between the symptoms of PTSD and cPTSD (complex PTSD)?
  • Are traumatic events experienced at a young age considered more harmful?
  • How do I get started with trying to find a specialist who has trauma-informed care education and background?
  • Recently I realized that my childhood was full of traumatic events. As an adult, how do I know if I should see a specialist about the physical and psychological trauma I endured?
  • Does the impact of trauma go away on its own, or does it require medical intervention to overcome?
  • How do you recommend that providers add trauma training to their skill set?
  • Should providers be digging into adverse childhood experiences with everyone they treat?
  • What type of therapy is used to help reduce or remove the impact of triggers?
  • At what age can trauma impact you as an adult?
  • Someone close to me has insinuated that they experienced trauma in the past, but they haven’t gone into much detail. How do I talk to them about it and suggest they should get help? Do I try to talk to them, or could it make it worse?
  • What’s the best way to be supportive when a person is going through a traumatic episode, and it puts them in a consistently low mood that they can’t seem to get out of?
  • Any tips on addressing trauma with friends and family who might not understand the major impact that traumatic events can have on us?
  • Any advice on how to motivate someone with a history of trauma to become more active in the hope that exercise can be part of their treatment plan?
  • Is it common for people with histories of trauma to experience panic attacks without environmental triggers?
  • Are night terrors based in trauma?
  • Is cPTSD considered interconnected to personality disorders?
  • Any last words of wisdom about how to be gentle with ourselves or one another when working through trauma?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


You may find this additional information helpful

About Patricia Mangones

Patricia Mangones, PMHNP-BC, is a nurse practitioner at McLean Hospital’s Hill Center, a partial hospital program, where she works on a multidisciplinary team. She provides trauma-informed medication management in individual treatment and facilitates dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and skills-based PTSD groups.

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Originally aired April 6, 2021