Psychological trauma happens when we fail to process a serious and severe experience. What makes a serious and severe experience traumatic is the fact that the experience threatens injury, death, or some other physical harm to ourselves or to others. It causes us to feel horror, terror, or helplessness at the time it occurs. At least 2 out of every 3 children report experiencing a traumatic event by age 16. It’s more common than not for a young person to be exposed to more than a single traumatic event.

Children exposed to continual and pervasive trauma are especially vulnerable to the impact of further trauma experiences. If left untreated, trauma responses can frequently lead to a variety of difficulties, including depression, excessive risk-taking behaviours, anxiety and behaviour disorders, substance use (which is often an attempt to self-medicate), and severe cases are at risk for suicide.

If you or someone you know is experiencing some kind of distress or behavioural change while trying to recover from a traumatic experience, then talking to a professional can help.

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