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A crisis response consists of the reactions that occur following exposure to a critical incident or trauma that may be of either human origin or a natural disaster. The effects of this exposure have been described metaphorically as a “toxin” that enters the body and the mind. One of the best antidotes to attenuate the deleterious effects of this toxin is thought to be the dissemination and receipt of good information. This entry reviews what has been learned about the psychobiological reactions to traumatic events. Knowledge of these reactions may be used to help determine what are adaptive and maladaptive responses to crisis and to educate and treat those experiencing the harmful effects of a crisis.

Overview of the Nervous System

Before describing the purported physiological reactions ...

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