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Neurobiology of Trauma and the Impact on Addiction Among Tribal Populations

COSSAP – 2021

Understanding the impact of trauma on a person’s brain and behavior allows us to have a different lens through which we may see the world and through which we see the people we serve–a lens that explains behavior in a way that is less pathologizing than we might otherwise categorize it. Trauma is not always visible, and frequently people are not aware that their symptoms are trauma-related, yet a high percentage of the people that we serve have experienced trauma. It is therefore critical that we be familiar with the definition of trauma, its impact on the brain and behavior, and what we can do about it no matter what role we play. Those are the goals of this article; it will be followed by a second part that describes practical ways to be trauma-informed and trauma-responsive, particularly in serving tribal communities.