Many types of traumatic and stressful events can cause a traumatic reaction, from natural disasters to domestic violence, combat exposure, being a victim of a crime, or witnessing a loved one get hurt, struggling with infertility or adoption challenges, infidelity or a tumultuous divorce. 
Life transitions, immigration, chronic exposure to hardship, and grief over the loss of a loved one can also significantly affect our ability to cope. Survivors of trauma respond to it differently and can experience a wide range of psychological reactions, including depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress, or substance abuse. But the aftermath of trauma is not only psychological. Traumatic experiences are associated with a higher lifetime prevalence of chronic physical health conditions as well. This is especially true for untreated childhood trauma. Traumatic events affect not only you individually, but also your family members, friends, and colleagues. Your loved ones can suffer with you, struggle to understand what you are going through or try to help you and not know how.
Traumatic events are dangerous, shocking, and scary experiences that can affect us emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Traumatic and adverse events can overwhelm us, but their effects are treatable. Through competent and compassionate care, we will help you and your family rebuild your resilience and overcome adversity.


If you have survived an adverse or traumatic event and are consequently experiencing difficulties in readjusting, you are not alone. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA) points out that threatening or hurtful life events can have lasting adverse effects on all aspects of functioning, including mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.

The prevalence of traumatic experiences is difficult to correctly assess, but estimates suggest that:

  1. Approximately 19% of men and 15% of women in the US reported a lifetime experience of a natural disaster
  2. Between 15% and 25% of women will report a lifetime history of sexual abuse
  3. As many as 1 in every 6 men have had abusive sexual experiences before the age of 18
  4. The prevalence of domestic violence among women is between 9% and 44%, depending on sources. The true number is likely closer to the higher margin, due to pervasive underreporting
  5. About 18.5% of returning veterans report symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression
  6. Approximately 60% of adults report traumatic or other difficult family circumstances during childhood
  7. As much as 70% of children in elementary and middle schools are affected by bullying
Some of these statistics are likely an underrepresentation of the true numbers. This is because, in its nature, trauma is often associated with feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame, thus making it less likely to be reported.

Signs and symptoms


We all react differently to stressful events and it is impossible to predict how someone will respond to trauma. That being said, there are commonalities in how adverse events can impact our functioning. If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, consider seeking help. Please note that you may not feel all of the symptoms below, but even a few are indicative of a possible stressful reaction.
  • Shock, denial, or disbelief
  • Confusion, forgetfulness, not remembering how you got places
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Panic/anxiety attacks
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Difficulties feeling positive emotions
  • Feeling disconnected or numb
  • Feeling hyperalert or more vigilant than those around you
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Feeling jittery or restless
  • Fatigue
  • Being startled easily
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Edginess and agitation
  • Aches and pains
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating, hot and cold flashes
  • Difficulties being in crowded places


Children are often incredibly resilient in the face of adversity. However, when stressors are overwhelming, they may exhibit a wide range of emotional, behavioral, and academic difficulties. Symptoms of trauma may also vary based on the child’s age and developmental stage. Children are often unable to verbally express what is bothering them and therefore are more likely to communicate through their behaviors; what we may see as tantrums, acting out, or bids for attention are frequently their way of telling us that they need help.

  • Changes in sleep or appetite
  • Persistent nightmares or difficulties falling and/or staying asleep
  • Anger or rage
  • Difficulty being soothed
  • Unreasonable fear
  • Regressing to a previous developmental stage (e.g. wetting bed after that had stopped)
  • Unusually strong startle response
  • Sudden difficulties at school, grades decreasing
  • Lethargy
  • Withdrawal from previously trusted adults
  • Clinginess or intense anxiety when separated from parent
  • Frequent stomach aches and/or headaches
  • Unusual shyness or acting out in social situations


If left untreated, reactions to traumatic events can impact our lives significantly, in many areas, including professional realization, personal fulfillment, interpersonal relationships, and even physical health.
Trauma, whether it is a one-time event or repetitive and long-lasting adverse events, affects everyone differently. Some may exhibit symptoms consistent with Post-Traumatic Stress, while others will demonstrate resilience or subclinical symptoms, which may resolve themselves over time. When they do not, however, the impact of trauma can be subtle, insidious, or downright destructive.
You may feel detached from everyone and disconnected from your friends, children, or significant other. Your positive emotional reactions may feel dull or numbed down, while feelings of shame, vulnerability, or weakness may dominate, leaving you feeling frequently irritable, on edge and, at the same time, exhausted. There is a reason for this change; although it may come slowly and subtly, it will become more pervasive over time. Traumatic events cause changes in our physiology, like elevation in cortisol levels, which can leave us in a constant state of hyperactivation or vigilance, causing a prolonged stress response. Therefore, besides persistent fatigue, they threaten more long-term physical illnesses, such as heart, liver, autoimmune, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Trauma affects our thinking too, whether we realize it or not. You may have difficulty making decisions, feeling cynical, unmotivated, or feeling like the world is dangerous or that others cannot be trusted. You may not want to remember the painful events, talk, or even think about them, and numb yourself through engaging in risky behaviors—such as reckless driving, drinking, drugs, overworking, binge eating, or gambling. You may even try to avoid people and places that are painful reminders of what you have gone through. However, that may leave you feeling as if you are missing out, while the world around you is moving forward. It may cause you to isolate yourself from your loved ones, or feel like you are observing them from the outside, not ever quite present in your own life.
Acknowledging that traumatic experiences have affected us is an important first step towards regaining control of our life and our emotions. When you free yourself from the burden of trauma symptoms you will start to feel a connection with your loved ones once again, enjoy your children, and feel happiness, joy, and excitement. You can regain a sense of purpose and experience renewed hope and motivation. Seeking professional help is not an admission of weakness, it means taking your life in your own hands, for your own sake and for the benefit of your family and loved ones.

Family Impact

If you are experiencing challenges, such as depression, anxiety, PTS, or substance use, you are likely not suffering in a vacuum. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, families in which a member is experiencing post-traumatic difficulties tend to go through increased levels of stress, crisis, and family discord. Spouses and partners of someone living with PTS can suffer from increased anxiety, depression, and even physical symptoms, further straining the relationship and resulting in possible decrease in positive feelings and intimacy, increased isolation, and compromised ability to be emotionally available and supportive to other family members, such as children. Families who come together in overcoming trauma, on the other hand, can grow stronger through the challenging experiences, strengthen their bonds, and help hasten the recovery of all individuals involved. Let us help you come together and become more resilient.

Post-Traumatic Growth

Traumatic events can challenge our core beliefs of ourselves, others, and the world. They can shake us up to our very core. But enduring psychological struggles can sometimes lead to ultimately finding a sense of personal growth, resulting in what we call post-traumatic growth.

Post-traumatic growth may involve a new understanding of why something terrible happened, finding meaning in the adverse event, and reevaluating what it means for our worldview. It is not bouncing back; it is faring off better than one was before the trauma happened. Post-traumatic growth can involve a new appreciation of life, improved relationships with others, feeling motivated to discover new possibilities in life, increased personal strength, a sense of self-efficacy, and spiritual change.

Post-traumatic growth is a process that happens over time, requires effort, and can take place through treatment. According to the psychologist Richard Tedeschi, who developed the theory of post-traumatic growth, it means moving past just getting by or managing your symptoms.

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