Trauma and Trauma-Related Disorders | Psychiatry | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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Trauma and Trauma-Related Disorders

Events such as the September 11th terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, school shootings, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have served to draw public attention to the plight of trauma survivors and the families of victims. Trauma, however, does not only happen in large public crises. On a daily basis, both children and adults experience interpersonal violence and serious accidents that threaten their lives and physical well-being.

Trauma exposure is associated not only with injury, death, and economic loss, but also with painful and debilitating emotional disorders, both acute and long-term. Seven people in every hundred have had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives, and many more have had other problems related to traumatic experiences. Although there are now treatments that can help, many people with post-traumatic psychological problems are neither adequately diagnosed nor treated, leading to worse outcomes. While the research on trauma-related disorders has made great strides in the last 20 years, existing knowledge needs to be broadly translated into more useful interventions for survivors of traumatic events. Effective treatments for PTSD exist, but many providers and survivors do not know this. It is imperative for the mental health field to develop models, techniques and tools for delivering effective, feasible treatments to survivors suffering from trauma-related disorders.

Because of the prevalence of trauma and its serious consequences, trauma-related disorders have become a major area of clinical and research interest for Psychiatry faculty. The National Center for PTSD and the Dartmouth Trauma Interventions Research Center are affiliated with the Department. The missions and members of the centers overlap, but each has a specific purpose. The Dartmouth Trauma Interventions Research Center is closely aligned with the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, whose members also conduct research on trauma, as well as a broad range of psychiatric issues.