A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) states that “exposure to one or more potentially traumatic events in a lifetime is associated with a host of potential negative behavioral and physical effects, ranging from mental illness and depression to substance abuse, asthma, and high blood pressure.”
“Many see responses to trauma as having short-term impacts, but this report validates the long-term impact that these events have on our well-being,” Paolo del Vecchio, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services states.
Between 2008-2012, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health’s Mental Health Surveillance Study gathered data from both men and women. Findings indicate that those exposed to trauma are more likely to have health conditions such as asthma, hypertension and ulcers, as well as have an increase in illicit drug use and alcohol abuse.
Exposure to one or more traumatic events is linked to higher rates of serious psychological distress and major depressive episodes. For those experiencing PTSD symptoms within the past year, the prevalence of suicidal thoughts was more than six times higher than among those without symptoms (21.8% vs 3.3%).
According to Del Vecchio, the study should provide impetus for the critical need for trauma informed care throughout the nation.
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