Common Causes of Trauma


A traumatic experience can be a single event, a series of events, and/or a chronic condition (e.g., childhood neglect, domestic violence, exposure to violence). According to the The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, individuals may experience the traumatic event directly, witness an event, feel threat­ened, or hear about an event that affects someone they know. Events may be human-made, such as a mechanical error that causes a disaster, war, terrorism, sexual abuse, or violence, or they can be the products of nature (e.g., flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes). Trauma can occur at any age or developmental stage, and often, events that occur outside expected life stages are perceived as traumatic (e.g., a child dying before a parent, cancer as a teen, personal illness, job loss before retirement).

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