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What is financial trauma? Taking action, even tiny steps, can head off symptoms

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With inflation rising faster than expected in September and fears of a recession on the horizon, many Americans are feeling symptoms of financial stress that are typically characteristic of PTSD.

“Seeing these kinds of downturns in the economy can be very provocative,” says Kristen Lee, a Northeastern University teaching professor, clinical social worker and expert in behavioral health and resilience.

People may experience “difficulty concentrating and a flooding of anxiety,” she says. 

“It can be hard to focus on what is possible and who we can turn to.”

The feelings may be particularly severe in people who already have experienced some form of financial trauma, defined by financial experts as intergenerational poverty, going for a period of months without the resources to meet basic needs or a sudden change in fortune due to job loss, bankruptcy, divorce or widowhood.

“People sometimes think of trauma as one big event like a war or an accident or an assault,” Lee says.

Read the full story in News@Northeastern.

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