Abuse, Trauma, and Neglect

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after people have witnessed or been directly involved in a life-threatening situation, serious injury, sexual abuse, or death. Afterwards, people may experience distressing memories or dreams about the event. Sometimes, people can feel (and act) as though the event is happening again, despite being in a safe environment. Beyond this, PTSD can dramatically effect people’s thoughts about the world and about themselves. They often experience strong emotions of fear, anger, guilt, or shame. More recently, we’ve been beginning to understand that PTSD is not always caused by a single isolated traumatic event. In some cases (known as Complex PTSD), prolonged abuse or neglect, even less severe forms, can have a significant impact on people’s mood, proneness to anxiety, personality, relationship style, and attitudes.