The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines trauma as “an event, series of events, or set of circumstances [e.g., childhood and adult physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; neglect; loss; community violence; structural violence] that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or threatening and that has lasting adverse effects”. Exposure to these types of traumatic events can lead to risky behaviors such as alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, and high-risk sexual behavior as a means of coping with the trauma. To provide appropriate care to women who are survivors of trauma, nurse practitioners must understand the mental and physical effects of trauma. Recognizing the substantial prevalence of traumatic exposure and that the impact on health and well-being is dramatically underestimated, women’s health nurse practitioners must begin to recognize the value of adopting Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) principles into their practice. The four basic principles for discussion include: 1) Realize the prevalence of traumatic events and the widespread impact of trauma; 2) Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma; 3) Respond by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and 4) seek to actively Resist Re-traumatization.
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