What is Traumatic Stress?

The Association of Trauma Stress Specialists understands the complexity and physiological functions associated with trauma. We are dedicated to proven foundations grounded in safety, stabilization, healing, and recovery. While we agree with the definition of traumatic stress in the field of trauma, The Association of Trauma Stress Specialists defines it as followed:

Traumatic Stress is a complex adaptive process where the brain and the body respond to the dysregulation in one’s system after exposure to natural and man-made traumatic events. This term, Traumatic Stress is scientifically defined as a neutral transmission of one’s experience to a traumatic event, its association to physical triggers as a result of such exposure, and the psychological disruption to the brain as it processes the neural pathways (i.e., Locus Ceruleus, Amygdala, Hippocampus, Orbitofrontal Cortex & Anterior Cingulate Gyrus, and the HPA axis) that actively seek holistic functionality and survival. Due to exposure to traumatic stress, the consequences of survival can be lifelong and the recovery process is individualized for each person(s).  The result of this exposure can lead to symptoms consistent with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in some individuals.

The Association of Trauma Stress Specialists encourages all members, clinical and non-clinical professionals to demonstrate an understanding that traumatic stress can be seen differently in individuals and communities.