A systems-informed triphase development model of traumatic stress

by Edward Thomas

         Disorders due to traumatic stress are among the costliest of all the mental health disorders to both the disordered persons and to society.  Described and diagnosed primarily as posttraumatic stress disorder, the underlying human dimension to traumatic stress is complicated by the multifactorial ways in which pathology becomes manifest.  Increasingly, pathways to the development of traumatic stress illness are the frame by which research is being conducted, revealing some new ways of preventing, minimizing, and treating affected persons. Increasingly, trauma and the resulting sequelae are not constructed as linear cause and effect, but as processes, experienced by individuals vulnerable due to type of trauma or predisposing factors and transmitted in a variety of ways to those around them.

         Neuroscience is providing important clues to the means by which brain anatomy, brain biology, and brain chemistry coalesce in the presence of life threatening stress.  Social factors involving family of origin, attachment, worldview, gender, race, and culture are receiving much-needed theoretical reprisal, resulting in new concepts of traumatic stress disorder etiology, formation, and maintenance. Incorporating current perspectives and research from leading traumatic stress researchers and clinicians, including those of Foa, Resick, Keane, Figley, Perry, and Wilson, a systemic framework and visual model is proposed by which to view traumatic stress in terms of triumvirate development pathways: a) pretraumatic vulnerability; b) peritraumatic factors; c) and posttraumatic environment.              continued   http://wp.me/P1zhwo-j


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