Women and Trauma
Women and TraumaTrauma is the exposure to an extreme stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or threat to one's physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another person; or learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or other close associate. The person's response to the event must involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror (or in children, the response must involve disorganized or agitated behavior).
The traumatic event can be experienced in various ways; recurrent and intrusive recollections of the event; recurrent and distressing dreams during which the event is replayed; dissociative states; intense physiological distress and reactivity; deliberate efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations about the traumatic event; diminished interest or participation in previously enjoyed activities; feeling detached or estranged from others; reduced ability to feel emotions; a sense of a foreshortened future; difficulty falling or staying asleep; hypervigilance; exaggerated startle response; irritability or outbursts of anger; and difficulty concentrating or completing tasks.
Reference: American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), 4th ed. (Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Association, 1994), p. 424.