Area of Focus

Trauma Informed Care

Compass Health Center’s treatment teams provide integrated, evidence-based Trauma treatment for individuals ages 18 and over. Individualized programming for Trauma aims to help our patients build the skills necessary to manage their symptoms and realign with their values.

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 Effects of Trauma on Your Life<span id= - Compass Health Center ">

Effects of Trauma on Your Life

Trauma affects people in many ways, and it is important to note that having trauma does not make you weak or flawed. Trauma causes changes to the brain. According to one study, individuals with Trauma tend to have a smaller hippocampus—an area of the brain involved in storing memory and emotions. 

Individuals with Trauma may also possess abnormal levels of stress hormones, which may trigger an overactive fight-or-flight response. Some people can manage stress better than others, while some experience debilitating effects that prevent them from performing daily activities. 


  • Childhood abuse, emotional, physical, sexual, and neglect
  • Sexual assault
  • Interpersonal or domestic violence trauma
  • Unexpected loss
  • Physical assault (i.e., mugged, assaulted, victim of hate crimes, and bullying)
  • Exposed to violence
  • Any other traumatic experiences

What Is PTSD? - Compass Health Center

What Is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly known as PTSD, is a mental health concern that may affect those who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event or situation. These traumatic events can come in the form of:

  • Natural disasters
  • A serious, life-threatening accident
  • Death of a loved one
  • Sexual abuse
  • Domestic abuse
  • A terrorist act 
  • War or combat
  • Death threats
  • Serious injuries
  • Witnessing accidents or deaths

Individuals who have PTSD often feel a heightened sense of danger, which alters their fight-or-flight response. These feelings can cause them to experience fear, Anxiety, and stress even when they are safe. PTSD can be experienced by individuals of all ages, and while PTSD is considered a singular condition, some mental health experts classify it into subtypes, depending on symptoms or “specifiers”: Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), Dissociative PTSD, Uncomplicated PTSD, and comorbid PTSD.

Common Trauma & PTSD Symptoms - Compass Health Center

Common Trauma & PTSD Symptoms

Having unresolved Trauma can immensely disrupt normal day-to-day activities and a person’s ability to function. Certain words, sounds, or situations that remind the person of the traumatic event can easily trigger symptoms.

Common symptoms of trauma and PTSD can include the following:

  • Self-isolation
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Showing exaggerated response when feeling startled
  • Being “on-edge” on a frequent basis
  • Constant irritability 
  • Anger outbursts when reminded of the traumatic event
  • Distorted feelings of blame, worry, or guilt
  • Difficulty remembering vital information or parts of the traumatic event
  • Reduced interest in performing activities that were once pleasurable
  • Flashbacks that relive the trauma over and over
  • Frequent nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Intense physical and mental distress when thoughts of the event come to mind
  • Panic attacks

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD, and symptoms in women are more likely to manifest as feeling emotionless, easily startled, depressed, or anxious. Men usually experience typical PTSD symptoms of re-experiencing, cognitive and mood issues, and arousal concerns. These symptoms can surface as quickly as within the first month after the event, but it can take months or even years for the severe signs to appear.

When to Seek Trauma or PTSD Treatment - Compass Health Center

When to Seek Trauma or PTSD Treatment

Seeking treatment for Trauma can help you learn the tools needed to heal and move forward in a direction that is aligned with your values and goals. It is time to seek treatment if you:

  • Experience frequent, upsetting thoughts
  • Are unable to control your actions
  • Fear that you may hurt yourself or others
  • Experience strong symptoms that prevent you from living a normal life

According to a study by the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), women usually wait four years to see a doctor for symptoms, while men usually seek treatment within one year after symptoms begin to show. Trauma treatment is an important step in preventing symptoms from worsening.

Trauma & PTSD in Adults and Young Adults

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, “70 percent of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people.” Several recent studies also reveal that PTSD in teens and young adults is becoming prevalent in the United States. Over 47% of young people aged 14 to 17 will likely experience some form of a traumatic event in their lifetimes, such as physical assault, sexual assault, or witnessing violence. While many teens and young adults experience traumatic incidents, the source of trauma is different for each individual. 

PTSD affects 3.5% of adults in the United States each year, and it is estimated that one in every 11 adults will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about six of every 10 men (60%) and five of every 10 women (50%) will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.


While there are varying definitions, trauma is an event in which a person experiences an actual or perceived threat to one's life, safety, or well-being or witnessing this happening to someone else. Often trauma experiences can be life changing but not everyone who experiences trauma will go on to develop mental health symptoms.

Trauma is an event that can elicit a broad spectrum of reactions. PTSD is a common reaction to trauma but not everyone who experiences a trauma event will develop PTSD. PTSD includes re-experiencing symptoms (e.g., intrusive memories, flashbacks), arousal symptoms (e.g., hypervigilance, anger, difficulty sleeping), changes in thoughts and emotions, and avoidance symptoms.

The duration of PTSD can vary widely among individuals. Some may experience symptoms for a few months, while others may struggle with them for years. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can contribute to a more favorable prognosis.

Yes! Our trauma program gives concrete, actionable skills to use when experiencing trauma symptoms. Additionally, our trauma program equips people with the knowledge and insight to better understand their symptoms and therefore allows people to more effectively respond. Our trauma program integrates skills from ACT, DBT, & CPT, three evidenced based approaches for treating PTSD and trauma symptoms.

Common types of trauma that can lead to PTSD include, but are not limited to, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, childhood abuse, physical or sexual assaults, accidents, natural disasters, combat exposure, witnessing or experiencing violence, growing up in a community with high rates of violence, or exposure to homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, or other types of identify based discrimination.

Research suggests that women may be more susceptible to developing PTSD compared to men, possibly due to a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. Women are more likely to experience certain types of trauma, such as sexual assault, which are strongly associated with the development of PTSD. Additionally, based on socio-cultural norms, women's expressions of distress are more likely to be pathologized and men are less likely to seek help for their symptoms. Lastly, trans ang NGC are often left out of research and statistics which is problematic in of itself. All individuals, regardless of gender identify, can develop PTSD and can receive inclusive care at Compass.

Yes, Compass utilizes evidenced-based treatment, meaning research has repeatedly shown that these approaches to care can help reduce symptoms and increase patient confidence in managing symptoms. There is no treatment that can erase the trauma of the past but medication management, talk therapy, and skill use all help individuals manage their symptoms so they can improve functioning and live a more meaningful life.

At Compass Health Center, we want to make sure that a patient can get the healthcare they need, regardless of their insurance coverage. We accept most commercial insurance plans, and we offer flexible payment plans to help make our services more affordable. Our billing team works with the patient/family to establish any plans needed.

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Our Success Stories

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Compass saved my life! I came into Compass with suicidal ideations and no hope. After a couple of weeks of being in the program, I did not have those thoughts anymore. Compass helped me change my mindset, from a negative pattern of thoughts to a more positive and optimistic frame of mind.

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My child is leaving Compass more equipped to handle her emotions, her anxiety, her depression, and the things that all trigger these. She is willing to use the skills, which is a huge change, and this is all due to how well Compass worked for her.

Parent of Child Patient
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I liked how in Compass, everyone was respectful of my opinions, pronouns, and preferred name. There was no judging, and you can open up to people. I also like how I can relate to other kids. I also really appreciate learning new skills.

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Compass is a godsend. An amazing program for children who are struggling and families who are seeking help and guidance. I could not imagine that she would be so much better in less than 2 months. I wish we could have found Compass without going to the ER. Thanks for all you do!

Parent of Child Patient
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The evening IOP program challenged me in a supportive and respectful way to help change my way of thinking. Compass provided me with the tools to help deal with life situations in a healthy way.

Adult Patient
Service Areas

In-Person and Virtual Mental Health Services for Illinois & Maryland Residents