Common Reactions to Trauma

Common Trauma reactionsIf you have experienced trauma chances are that you are going through a very difficult time. Although not all traumas are the same and the experience differs for everyone there are a few reactions or responses that you can expect.

  1. Re-experiencing the Trauma
    • You are replaying the memory over and over in your mind. It is like a movie is playing on a constant loop.
    • You have constant nightmares causing distress and difficulty sleeping.
    • You are experiencing flashbacks of the event. These can be very real, and might even feel if it is happening all over again.

  2. Emotional Reactions
    • You are struggling with fear and anxiety. Is it going to happen again?
    • You feel angry a lot of the time. Sometimes you might not even know who you are angry at.
    • You experience feelings of sadness and constant crying.
    • You experience feelings of guilt or shame. You might think that what happened was your fault.
    • You might feel numb or “dead inside”.

  3. Avoiding Things Related to the Trauma
    • You try not to think about the event because it only upsets you more.
    • You are avoiding anything related to the trauma.
    • You are avoiding things that remind you of the trauma.

  4. Changes in How You View the World and Yourself
    • You have difficulty trusting people.
    • You believe the world is extremely dangerous.
    • You are blaming yourself for the trauma.
    • You think you should have handled the trauma differently.
    • You see yourself as weak or inadequate.
    • You are criticizing yourself for reactions to the trauma.

  5. Hyperactive Nervous System
    • You are constantly on guard or hyper vigilant.
    • You see danger everywhere and constantly feel afraid.
    • You are easily startled.
    • You have difficulty sleeping or are not sleeping at all.
    • You have little or no interest in sex.

    If you experience any of these reactions for more than a few weeks it is important to seek help. Untreated trauma can lead to other mental health problems for example PTSD, anxiety or depression.

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