Impact of Trauma

Those who have experienced trauma often suffer from long lasting effects, and are at increased risk for psychological, behavioral, social, and physiological difficulties. Methods that have historically been used in behavioral healthcare, such as restraints and seclusions, can be devastating on individuals who have experienced trauma.

Trauma is often understood as an experience of violence and victimization which can include not only sexual abuse, physical abuse, severe neglect, loss, domestic violence and/or the witnessing of violence. But it can also be subtler, resulting from bullying, shame, fear and anxiety, among others. In addition, trauma affects not onlythe individual directly experiencing an event, but also those who bear witnesses to it.

Children with disabilities are at greater risk of being abused than children without disabilities; children with intellectual disabilities, behavioral problems, and communication or sensory related disabilities were at greatest risk.

The neurological changes associated with trauma, particularly early traumatic events, can predispose individuals to increased distress and reactive behavior in response to real or perceived threats. These responses may be viewed as “maladaptive” or problematic and may be symptoms for which they seek treatment.


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