“Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”
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Trauma is more than just experiencing an immediate feeling of fear (as in being startled or “shaken”). It is a powerful, long-lasting negative reaction in an individual's body and brain when he or she perceives that an experience or series of events is overwhelming or life-threatening. Trauma is so powerful that it can negatively affect people mentally, physically, socially, emotionally and/or spiritually over a long period of time, sometimes a lifetime.
Signs and symptoms of trauma may be immediate or delayed, sometimes not appearing for many years after a significant event. The causes of trauma are varied, as is any individual's reaction. One person may struggle with negative symptoms for long periods of time, while another individual experiencing the same or similar event may move past it quickly and experience no long-term consequences.