Trauma and toxic stress involve feeling overwhelmed by difficult life experiences that can lead to physical, emotional, and substance use problems.
Trauma is an event or series of events that overwhelm your ability to cope. A traumatic event may include sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, bullying, loss, domestic violence, or the witnessing of violence, war, crime, terrorism, disasters and other forms of victimization. It refers to both the event and an individual's response to it. Everyone experiences, understands, and heals differently...we are unique individuals with our own perspectives, strengths and experiences.
The long term consequences of trauma may be devastating. Survivors may develop responses and adopt risky behaviors as coping strategies including:
- Intense fear and helplessness
- Smoking, substance use, and other addictions
- Unsafe sexual behavior