neurobiology, trauma, PTSD, hormonal response, AASD


  • The neurobiology of trauma can affect the functioning of the brain with lasting consequences.
  • The body's hormonal response to trauma affects the encoding of memory.
  • Acute stress disorder (ASD) can result following trauma and can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if symptoms last for more than 1 month.
  • Trauma can cause immediate symptoms, such as tonic immobility and dissociation, and may lead to chronic symptoms oof depression and anxiety.
  • Exposure to trauma can cause physical health problems.
  • Evidence-based psychotherapy treatment options following traumatic exposure are available.
  • Providing compassionate, nonjudgmental care to victims of trauma helps their healing process.

Nurses work with many individuals who have suffered trauma as well as those who have inflicted trauma soon others. Often, those who perpetrate crimes have been victims of trauma themselves. It is important to understand what occurs physiologically to the person who has experienced trauma and its aftermath. This chapter discusses the neurobiology of trauma, the repercussions of experiencing trauma, and interventions to improve the lives and functioning of traumatized individuals.

Original Publication Citation

Valentine, J. L., Mabey, L., & Miles, L. (2015). Neurobiology of trauma. In A. F. Amar & L. K. Sekula (Eds.), A practical guide to forensic nursing: Incorporating forensic principles into nursing practice (37-54). Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Sigma Theta Tau International





University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor