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Traumatic Stress

Traumatic stress can happen when someone experiences trauma.

Cartoon of a woman sitting in bed, there are clouds around her. She is feeling bad.Trauma can be experienced when:

    • A person goes through a traumatic event.
    • A person sees someone go through a traumatic event or learns about a traumatic event from someone else.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is diagnosis given to someone who experiences trauma and develops symptoms that make it difficult to function in their daily lives.

Post-traumatic stress can cause symptoms such as:

    • Experiencing the trauma over again through flashbacks, nightmares, or upsetting thoughts.
    • Avoiding places, events, people, objects, thoughts, and feelings that are reminders of the traumatic experience.
    • Feeling tense or easily startled.
    • Being overly aware of yourself or surroundings.
    • Trouble with sleeping.
    • Getting easily upset, having outbursts, feeling irritable or grumpy.
    • Feeling guilt or blame.
    • Loss of interest in doing things you once liked or enjoyed.
    • Thinking bad thoughts that won’t go away about people, the world, or yourself.

Trauma affects everyone differently. Not everyone that experiences trauma will be diagnosed with PTSD.

If you experience a traumatic event, you could have all, some, or none of the symptoms of PTSD.

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This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.