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1. Psychol a powerful shock that may have long-lasting effects
2. Pathol any bodily injury or wound



an externally caused injury to the human or animal organism. Depending on its cause, a trauma may be classified as mechanical, chemical, or thermal (as in burns or frostbite), as a barotrauma (caused by abrupt changes in atmospheric pressure), as an electrotrauma, or as a combination of types of traumas—for example, a mechanical trauma combined with a burn. Depending on the duration of the traumatic event, a trauma may be either acute or chronic. Traumas may also be classified according to the circumstances in which they occur—for example, nonoccupational injuries, industrial accidents, or injuries resulting from athletic activity or military combat.

A mechanical trauma may be an open wound, or it may be a closed injury, with the skin remaining intact; it may be uncomplicated, or it may develop such complications as suppuration, osteomyelitis, sepsis, or traumatic toxicosis; it may be isolated (that is, limited to one organ or part of an extremity) or extensive (with injury to several organs or parts); or it may involve a combination of simultaneous injuries to the internal organs and the muscu-loskeletal system. Specific types of traumas are contusions, sprains, dislocations, fractures, compression of tissues and internal organs, concussions, and ruptures. They may be accompanied by hemorrhage, edema, inflammation, or necrosis (gangrene) of the tissues. Severe and extensive traumas are accompanied by shock and may be fatal. A special type is psychic trauma—a term denoting an emotional shock, and particularly one due to traumatic verbal activity. Psychic traumas may lead to morbid reactions in the psychic and autonomic systems, such as depression and neurosis.

Timely first aid and treatment may prevent severe posttraumatic complications. The various types of traumas are treated by appropriate medical specialists.


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An injury caused by a mechanical or physical agent.
A severe psychic injury.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ruth Ley's Trauma: A Genealogy charts the history of the category of psychic trauma compellingly, from its origins in the 1860s (2000, 3) and shows how the concept gained significant social application after World War I (83-85) prior to its appearance in humanistic thinking and secular exegetical traditions of the late twentieth century in the aftermath of the Third Reich.
assaults is the greater psychic trauma accompanying more severe attacks
Just as physical trauma is caused by a wound to the body, psychic trauma can be caused by the shock of an emotionally disturbing experience.
Already we've seen ``Frida'' turn the pain-wracked artist metaphor upside down: Salma Hayek's portrayal of the famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo shows her exulting in her work, erotic indulgence and getting snockered as a positive alternative to wallowing in the physical pain resulting from a horrible bus accident and the psychic trauma of loving an unfaithful husband.
An epidemiological study of psychic trauma and treatment effectiveness for children after a natural disaster.
I know that in addition to the psychic trauma that we all shared, the last quarter of 2001 was economically hard on a lot of businesses.
I know that in addition to the psychic trauma that we all shared, the last quarter of 2001 was economically hard on a lot of restaurant and bar operators, particularly those in tourist destinations.
Relocating also entails less psychic trauma than it once did.
Marion Sulzberger, put it best in 1948 when he wrote, "There is probably no single disease, which causes more psychic trauma, more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feelings of inferiority, and greater sums of psychic suffering than does acne vulgans.
Her novels, including her first, When Rain Clouds Gather (1969), and countless short stories are riveting tales of psychic trauma induced by the desire by some to dominate others.
The foremost psychoanalytic theorists of family secrets, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, argue that there is a "phantom" at the heart of a particular kind of psychic trauma.
One by one, we tried to circumscribe practices, concepts, and reflections that would enable us to better understand psychic trauma, "one of the main features of modernity in this century" (Barrois, 1988).