Relapse Prevention and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Traumatic events are sudden and unexpected situations that can overwhelm one's cognitive and sensory processes and leave the victim feeling powerless, terrified, or horrified. Although the leading causes of traumatic stress today are participation in war and other combat situations, individuals can also be traumatized through their experience of natural disasters, catastrophic accidents, abuse, assault, life-threatening medical conditions, and other life events. Perpetrators of these traumatic experiences can range from unknown individuals such as foreign combatants or random strangers, to well-known neighbors or even one's own family members. Although it is often said that the human reaction to traumatic events is a perfectly normal response to an exceptionally abnormal circumstance, individuals who experience traumatic events can be left with biological, psychological, and social sequelae that ...

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