Annie Lewis-O’Connor, PhD, Director, Coordinated Approach to Resilience and Empowerment (C.A.R.E.) Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains the impact of trauma, violence and abuse on long-term health.
Typically, people think of trauma as an accident or an injury but trauma is also emotional. Events such as a car accident or loss of a family member can also fall under the category of trauma.
Trauma is more common than many believe. National statistics find that one in four women and one in seven men will have had some sort of violence and abuse in their life.
The Adverse Childhood Exposures (ACE) Study found that adults with higher levels of childhood trauma were more likely to suffer from obesity, smoking, heart disease, alcoholism, depression, and illegal drug use. In fact, those that had childhood trauma were 17 times more likely to have attempted a suicide and nine times more likely to abuse drugs.
People with histories of trauma often struggle when accessing health care services and can find these services are re-traumatizing. Using a trauma-informed approach can help patients to engage in more meaningful encounters with their providers and feel more comfortable in those encounters.
Trauma-informed care recognizes the prevalence of trauma, how it affects an individual’s health and their ability to access health care. At the CARE Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, providers are skilled in recognizing trauma and matching patients with providers who can provide care in the context of an individual’s prior exposure to trauma.
Learn more about the C.A.R.E. Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital: