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Psychological aspects of trauma 

Psychological aspects of trauma
Chapter:
Psychological aspects of trauma
Author(s):

Jason Smith

, Ian Greaves

, and Keith M Porter

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199543328.003.0028
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date: 18 October 2019

Psychological aspects of trauma 496

Post-traumatic diagnoses 498

Bereavement, grief, and mourning 500

Major incidents 502

Non-mental health specialist help 504

Further reading 506

Trauma comes in many guises, is occasioned by different causes, and has different psychological effects, in the long and short term. Traumatic events include individual trauma (e.g. road traffic, domestic, and criminal incidents) and major catastrophes, some of which are due to natural causes (e.g. earthquakes and tsunamis) and some due to human error or malevolence (the latter including terrorist activity). The impact of these events may extend from individuals to their families and even to their communities and whole culture. Even a single traumatic incident, such as a fatal road traffic incident, can trigger a ‘ripple effect’, whereby a number of individuals, with different kinds and degrees of exposure to the event, might be adversely affected. Such individuals could include the surviving driver and passenger (as ‘primary victims’), passers-by who witnessed the death of a child passenger, the bereaved, and, finally, professional responders. A key message is, therefore, to be aware of possible ‘hidden victims’....

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