ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Trauma is defined as the result upon a person of a sudden or dramatic event in their life which threatens their life and/or members of their family. The powerful shock which accompanies trauma can have devastating effects upon the health and psyche of the individual128 although there may be no actual physical injury to the person.

Events which may cause or trigger trauma include accidents (at work, at home or motor related) which cause death, near death or horrific injuries, personal assault (sexual, physical or verbal) or death of family member, relative or friend.

The response to the effects of trauma range from shock, disbelief, realisation to a non-emotional survival state. This is followed by either a recovery cycle or withdrawal encompassing shock, guilt, anger, thought difficulties, anxiety, depression and philosophical reflections.

The counselling of affected individuals is necessary to avoid continuing stress. This should commence within a few hours of the incident for there to be a good chance of success and continue for up to several months to ensure full recovery.


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