How to Cope with Traumatic Events - (2023)

Any traumatic event—from a personal tragedy to a global crisis—can take an emotional toll and cause traumatic stress. But there are ways to regain control of your life.

How to Cope with Traumatic Events - (1)

The emotional response to traumatic events

It’s normal to experience traumatic stress following a disturbing event, whether it’s a traffic accident, plane crash, violent crime, terrorist attack, global pandemic, or a natural disaster like an earthquake, hurricane, or flood. You may feel intense shock, confusion, and fear, or feel numb or overwhelmed by a host of conflicting emotions, sometimes all at once. And these emotions aren’t limited to the people who experienced the event. Round-the-clock news and social media coverage means that we’re all bombarded with horrific images of tragedy, suffering, and loss almost the instant they occur anywhere in the world. Repeated exposure can overwhelm your nervous system and create traumatic stress just as if you experienced the event firsthand.

Traumatic stress can shatter your sense of security, leaving you feeling helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world—especially if the traumatic event was manmade, such as a shooting or act of terrorism. You may feel physically and emotionally drained, overcome with grief, or find it difficult to focus, sleep, or control your temper. These are all normal responses to abnormal events.

Often, the unsettling thoughts and feelings of traumatic stress—as well as any unpleasant physical symptoms—start to fade as life gradually returns to normal over the days or weeks following a catastrophic event or crisis. But there’s also a lot you can do to assist in your recovery and better come to terms with the trauma you’ve experienced. Whether you lived through the event itself, witnessed it, were an emergency responder or medical worker, or experienced traumatic stress in the aftermath, there are plenty of ways to calm your nervous system and regain your emotional balance.

[Read: Long COVID: Symptoms and Help for COVID Long Haulers]

Signs and symptoms of traumatic stress

Whether or not the traumatic event directly impacted you, it’s normal to feel anxious, scared, and uncertain about what the future may hold. Your nervous system has become overwhelmed by stress, triggering a wide range of intense emotions and physical reactions. These symptoms of traumatic stress can range from mild to severe and often come and go in waves. There may be times when you feel jumpy and anxious, for example, and other times when you feel disconnected and numb.

Emotional symptoms of traumatic stress include:

Shock and disbelief. You have a hard time accepting the reality of what happened, or feel numb and disconnected from your feelings.

Fear. You worry that the same thing will happen again, or that you’ll lose control or break down.

Sadness or grief, especially if people you know died or suffered life-altering consequences.

[Read: Coping with Grief and Loss]

Helplessness. The sudden, unpredictable nature of violent crime, accidents, pandemics, or natural disasters can leave you feeling vulnerable and helpless, and even trigger anxiety or depression.

Guilt that you survived when others died, or feeling that you could have done more to help.

Anger. You may be angry at God, governments, or others you feel are responsible, or be prone to emotional outbursts.

Shame, especially over feelings or fears that you can’t control.

Relief. You may feel relieved that the worst is over, that you weren’t as badly affected as others, or even hopeful that your life will return to normal.

Physical symptoms include:

Feeling dizzy or faint, stomach tightening or churning, excessive sweating.

Trembling, shaking, experiencing cold sweats, having a lump in your throat, or feeling choked up.

Rapid breathing, pounding heart, even chest pains or difficulty breathing.

Racing thoughts, being unable to rest or stop pacing. You may also have difficulty concentrating, memory problems, or confusion.

Changes in your sleeping patterns. You experience insomnia or nightmares, for example.

(Video) How TO Overcome PTSD || 4 effective Self Help Tips for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Unexplained aches and pains, including headaches, changes in sexual function.

Loss or increase in appetite, or excessive consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or drugs.

What’s the difference between traumatic stress and PTSD?

While the symptoms of traumatic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) look very similar immediately following a disaster or disturbing event, they progress very differently. As unpleasant as the symptoms of traumatic stress can be, they tend to gradually improve over time, especially if you take steps to care for your emotional health.

However, if your traumatic stress symptoms don’t ease up and your nervous system remains “stuck,” unable to move on from the event for a prolonged period of time, you may be experiencing PTSD.

With PTSD, you remain in psychological shock. The symptoms don’t decrease and you don’t feel a little better each day. In fact, you may even start to feel worse.

Read: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Dealing with traumatic stress

Just as it can often take time to clear the rubble and repair the damage following a disaster or traumatic event, it can also take time to recover your emotional equilibrium and rebuild your life. But there are specific things you can do to help yourself and your loved ones cope with the emotional aftermath of trauma—and find a way to move on with your life.

Remember there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to feel. People react in different ways to trauma, so don’t tell yourself (or anyone else) what you should be thinking, feeling, or doing.

Don’t ignore your feelings—it will only slow recovery. It may seem better in the moment to avoid experiencing your emotions, but they exist whether you’re paying attention to them or not. Even intense feelings will pass if you simply allow yourself to feel what you feel.

Avoid obsessively reliving the traumatic event. Repetitious thinking or viewing horrific images over and over can overwhelm your nervous system, making it harder to think clearly. Partake in activities that keep your mind occupied (read, watch a movie, cook, play with your kids), so you’re not dedicating all your energy and attention to the traumatic event.

Reestablish routine. There is comfort in the familiar. After a disaster, getting back—as much as possible—to your normal routine, will help you minimize traumatic stress, anxiety, and hopelessness. Even if your work or school routine is disrupted, you can structure your day with regular times for eating, sleeping, spending time with family, and relaxing.

Put major life decisions on hold. Making big life decisions about home, work, or family while traumatized will only increase the stress in your life. If possible, try to wait until life has settled down, you’ve regained your emotional balance, and you’re better able to think clearly.

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If you’re a first responder or medical worker

Emergency responders and medical workers are always called upon when there’s a disaster or crisis. While helping others at their time of greatest need can be extremely rewarding, it also involves many challenges and stressors.

Witnessing tragedy and suffering, making life-and-death decisions, even placing yourself in harm’s way, can take a toll on your mental health and cause traumatic stress. And since you may have to repeatedly deal with the aftermath of traumatic events over the course of your career, the emotional impact can snowball over time. If the stress is left unchecked, it can lead to burnout, a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.

It’s important to remember that taking care of your own needs is not selfish, even at a time of crisis. Rather, it’s a necessity. After all, by allowing yourself to take breaks, leaning on others for support, and working in teams rather than alone for long periods, you’ll have the energy and fortitude to better help others in need.

While some survivors or witnesses of a traumatic event can regain a sense of control by watching media coverage of the event or by observing the recovery effort, others find that the reminders are further traumatizing. Excessive exposure to images of a disturbing event—such as repeatedly viewing video clips on social media or news sites—can even create traumatic stress in people not directly affected by the event, or cause those who were to be retraumatized.

Limit your media exposure to the traumatic event. Don't watch the news or check social media just before bed, and refrain from repeatedly viewing disturbing footage.

[Read: Social Media and Mental Health]

Try to avoid distressing imagesand video clips. If you want to stay up-to-date on events, read newspaper reports rather than watching television or viewing video clips of the event.

If coverage makes you feel overwhelmed, take a complete break from the news. Avoid TV and online news and stop checking social media for a few days or weeks, until your traumatic stress symptoms ease up and you're able to move on.

Tip 2: Accept your feelings

Traumatic stress can cause you to experience all kinds of difficult and surprising emotions, including shock, anger, and guilt. These emotions are normal reactions to the loss of safety and security (as well as life, limb, and property) that comes in the wake of a disaster. Accepting these feelings and allowing yourself to feel what you feel, is necessary for healing.

Dealing with painful emotions

  • Give yourself time to heal and tomourn any losses you've experienced.
  • Don't try to force the healing process.
  • Be patient with the pace of recovery.
  • Be prepared for difficult and volatile emotions.
  • Allow yourself to feel whatever you're feeling without judgment or guilt.
  • Learn toreconnect with uncomfortable emotions without becoming overwhelmed.

Tip 3: Challenge your sense of helplessness

Overcoming traumatic stress is often about taking action. Positive action can help you overcome feelings of fear, helplessness, and hopelessness—and even small actions can make a big difference.

Volunteer your time, give blood, donate to a favorite charity, or comfort others. If formal volunteering sounds like too much of a commitment, remember that simply being helpful and friendly to others can deliver stress-reducing pleasure and challenge your sense of helplessness. Help a neighbor carry in their groceries, hold a door open for a stranger, share a smile with the people you meet during the day.

Connect with others affected by the traumatic event or participate in memorials, events, and other public rituals. Feeling connected to others and remembering the lives lost or broken in the event can help overcome the sense of hopelessness that often follows a tragedy.

Tip 4: Get moving

It may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're experiencing traumatic stress, but exercising can burn off adrenaline and release feel-good endorphins to boost your mood. Physical activity performed mindfully can also rouse your nervous system from that “stuck” feeling and help you move on from the traumatic event.

Try exercise that is rhythmic and engages both your arms and legs. Walking, running, swimming, basketball, or dancing are good choices.

Add a mindful element by focusing on your body and how it feels as you move. Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of wind on your skin. Rock climbing, boxing, weight training, or martial arts can make it easier to be mindful and focus on your body movements—after all, if you don't, you could injure yourself.

Boost your energy and motivation. If you're struggling to find the energy or motivation to exercise, start by playing your favorite music and moving around or dancing. Once you get moving, you'll start to feel more energetic.

[Read: Best Exercises for Health and Weight Loss]

(Video) 5 Signs You’re Dealing With Psychological Trauma

Shorter bursts of activity are as beneficial as one longer session. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more each day—or if it's easier, three 10-minute spurts of exercise are just as good for you.

Tip 5: Reach out to others

You may be tempted to withdraw from friends and social activities following a traumatic event, but connecting face to face with other people is vital to recovery. The simple act of talking face to face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve traumatic stress.

You don't have to talk about your traumatic experiences. Reaching out to others doesn't necessarily mean talking about the traumatic event. Comfort comes from feeling connected and involved with others you trust. Talk about and do “normal” things with friends and loved ones, things that have nothing to do with the event that triggered your traumatic stress.

Expand your social network. If you live alone or your social network is limited, it's never too late to reach out to others andmake new friends. Take advantage of support groups, church gatherings, and community organizations. Join a sports team or hobby club to meet people with similar interests.

Reaching out when you’re cut off from others

While substitutes for face-to-face contact don’t have the same mental health benefits, sometimes it’s not always possible to see friends and loved ones in-person following a disaster or crisis.

Perhaps you’re temporarily kept apart by travel conditions, quarantining, or a lockdown during a pandemic, for example. In these circumstances, reach out to loved ones via video chat, telephone, social media, or text messaging—any way you can to feel a connection and remind yourself that you’re not alone at this time.

Tip 6: Make stress reduction a priority

While a certain amount of stress is normal, and can even be helpful, as you face the challenges that come in the aftermath of a disaster or tragic event,too much stress will interfere with recovery.

Relieve stress in the moment. Toquickly calm yourself in any situation, simply take 60 breaths, focusing your attention on each “out” breath. Or use sensory input by engaging one or more of your senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch—or movement. For example, does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or maybe petting an animal works quickly to make you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.

[Read: Quick Stress Relief]

Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to reduce stress, ease anxiety and depression, and improve your sleep.

Schedule time for activities that bring you joy—a favorite hobby or pastime, or a chat with a cherished friend.

Use your downtime to relax. Read a book, take a bath, or enjoy an uplifting or funny movie.

How to feel grounded when you're traumatized

When you feel overwhelmed by traumatic stress, try this simple exercise:

  • Sit on a chair, with your feet on the ground and your back supported by the chair.
  • Look around you and pick six objects that have red or blue in them. This should allow you to feel engaged in the present, more grounded and in your body. Notice how your breath gets deeper and calmer.
  • Alternately, you may want to go outdoors and find a peaceful place to sit on the grass, and feel supported by the ground.

Tip 7: Eat and sleep well

The food you eat can improve or worsen your mood and affect your ability to cope with traumatic stress. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of traumatic stress. Conversely, eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, andhealthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, can help you better cope with the ups and downs that follow a tragic event.

By replacing processed food with real food as close to its natural state as possible, you can develop an eating plan that not only helps to relieve traumatic stress, but also improves your energy, outlook, and overall sense of well-being.

Get enough quality sleep

After experiencing a traumatic event, you may find it difficult to sleep. Worries and fears may keep you up at night or disturbing dreams may trouble you. Since a lack of sleep places considerable stress on your mind and body—and makes it more difficult to maintain your emotional balance—getting quality rest after a disaster is essential.

The following strategies can help improve your sleep:

  • Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon or evening and limit alcohol intake as it disrupts sleep.
  • Do something relaxing before bed, like listening to soothing music, reading a book, or meditating.
  • Make your bedroom as quiet, dark, and soothing as possible.
  • Get regular exercise—but not too close to bedtime.

When to seek professional treatment

Usually, feelings of anxiety, numbness, confusion, guilt, and despair following a disaster or traumatic event will start to fade within a relatively short time. However, if your traumatic stress reaction is so intense and persistent that it's getting in the way of your ability to function, you may need help from a mental health professional—preferably a trauma specialist.

Traumatic stress red flags include:

  • It's been six weeks, and you're not feeling any better.
  • You've having trouble functioning at home and work.
  • You're experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks.
  • You're having an increasingly difficult time connecting and relating to others.
  • You're experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.
  • You're avoiding more and more things that remind you of the disaster or traumatic event.

If your child has been traumatized …

The intense, confusing, and frightening emotions that follow a traumatic event can be even more pronounced in children—whether they directly experienced the event or were repeatedly exposed to disturbing media coverage. But you can help your child cope with traumatic stress and move on from the event.

(Video) Info on PTSD

Read: Helping Children Cope with Trauma

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

    Get more help

    Common Reactions After Trauma– Guide to the common symptoms, effects, and problems that can result from emotional or psychological trauma. (National Center for PTSD)

    Coping after a traumatic event – Includes things you should and shouldn’t do. (Royal College of Psychiatrists)

    (Video) How to *Deal With Trauma* by Psychic Medium (Samantha Fe)

    Last updated: December 5, 2022


    What are 3 healthy ways to cope with a traumatic event? ›

    Find ways to relax and be kind to yourself. Turn to family, friends, and clergy person for support, and talk about your experiences and feelings with them. Participate in leisure and recreational activities. Recognize that you cannot control everything.

    How do you mentally recover from a traumatic event? ›

    Here are some things you should try and do after experiencing a traumatic event:
    1. Give yourself time. ...
    2. Talk about the event. ...
    3. Speak to others that have experienced the same thing as you. ...
    4. Ask for support. ...
    5. Avoid spending lots of time alone. ...
    6. Stick to your routine. ...
    7. Consider seeking professional help. ...
    8. Notice how you're feeling.

    How do people cope with traumatic events? ›

    Do your best to eat nutritious meals, get regular physical activity, and get a good night's sleep. And seek out other healthy coping strategies such as art, music, meditation, relaxation, and spending time in nature. Be patient. Remember that it's normal to have a strong reaction to a distressing event.

    What are the 4 stages of trauma recovery? ›

    The Stages of Trauma and Healing
    • Stabilization and Safety. Following the traumatic event, you may find yourself withdrawing from others. ...
    • Mourning and Remembrance. During this stage, you'll begin to create your own answers to the question, “What does this all mean?” ...
    • Integration and Reconnection.

    What are the 5 types of coping strategies? ›

    There are five main types of coping skills: problem-focused strategies, emotion-focused strategies, meaning making, social support, and religious coping.

    How long does it take the body to recover from emotional trauma? ›

    The normal healing and recovery process involves the body coming down out of heightened arousal. The internal alarms can turn off, the high levels of energy subside, and the body can re-set itself to a normal state of balance and equilibrium. Typically, this should occur within approximately one month of the event.

    What are physical signs your body is releasing trauma? ›

    Some may have a fight-or-flight type of response, which may include muscle tension, heart pounding and sweating because their body "believes it needs to activate," she explains. Others maybe experience a freeze response, which can look like someone who struggles to move or get out of bed.

    What are three unhealthy coping skills for PTSD? ›

    Ginger Mercer: How Treatment Helps Me
    • Substance abuse. Taking a lot of drugs or alcohol to feel better is called substance abuse. ...
    • Avoiding others. ...
    • Staying always on guard. ...
    • Avoiding reminders of the trauma. ...
    • Anger and violent behavior. ...
    • Dangerous behavior. ...
    • Working too much.
    Nov 8, 2022

    How do most people generally respond to traumatic events? ›

    All kinds of trauma create stress reactions. People often say that their first feeling is relief to be alive after a traumatic event. This may be followed by stress, fear and anger. Trauma may also lead people to find they are unable to stop thinking about what happened.

    How do you comfort a traumatized person? ›

    Listen to them
    1. Give them time. Let them talk at their own pace – it's important not to pressure or rush them.
    2. Focus on listening. ...
    3. Accept their feelings. ...
    4. Don't blame them or criticise their reactions. ...
    5. Use the same words they use. ...
    6. Don't dismiss their experiences. ...
    7. Only give advice if you're asked to.

    What are the 7 stages of trauma? ›

    First, we will explore the 7-stages of trauma bonding.
    • Love Bombing. At the start of the relationship, did they shower you with excess love, appreciation and gifts? ...
    • Trust and Dependency. ...
    • Criticism. ...
    • Gaslighting. ...
    • Resigning to Control. ...
    • Loss of Self. ...
    • Addiction. ...
    • Stop the Secret Self Blame.
    Dec 13, 2021

    How do you know if you are traumatized? ›

    Intrusive memories

    Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event. Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks) Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.

    What are the three pillars of trauma? ›

    All who interact with traumatized children in home, school, and community can make important contributions to healing and growth. This care involves actions to strengthen three pillars: safety, connections, and managing emotional impulses.

    What is the best coping mechanism? ›

    Take brief rest periods during the day to relax. Take vacations away from home and work. Engage in pleasurable or fun activities every day. Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga, prayer, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation.

    What are the five C's for coping with stress? ›

    My review produced “5 Cs of resilience”: confidence/control, connections, commitment, calmness, and care for self.

    What are some unhealthy coping skills? ›

    Some of the most common unhealthy coping mechanisms are:
    • Avoiding issues. ...
    • Sleeping too much. ...
    • Excessive drug or alcohol use. ...
    • Impulsive spending. ...
    • Over or under eating.

    Where does the body hold trauma? ›

    Ever since people's responses to overwhelming experiences have been systematically explored, researchers have noted that a trauma is stored in somatic memory and expressed as changes in the biological stress response.

    Does trauma ever fully heal? ›

    The most important thing to remember is that whether you do it with the support of friends and family or the support of a mental health therapist, it is 100% possible to completely heal from trauma and continue on to live a meaningful life. Your life doesn't need to end with a traumatic event.

    What are the 5 signs of emotional suffering? ›

    Common warning signs of emotional distress include:
    • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
    • Pulling away from people and things.
    • Having low or no energy.
    • Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches.
    • Feeling helpless or hopeless.
    May 16, 2022

    What are the 5 reactions to trauma? ›

    The freeze, flop, friend, fight or flight reactions are immediate, automatic and instinctive responses to fear. Understanding them a little might help you make sense of your experiences and feelings.

    Why do clients smile when talking about trauma? ›

    Smiling when discussing trauma is a way to minimize the traumatic experience. It communicates the notion that what happened “wasn't so bad.” This is a common strategy that trauma survivors use in an attempt to maintain a connection to caretakers who were their perpetrators.

    Where is shame stored in the body? ›

    Shame is connected to processes that occur within the limbic system, the emotion center of the brain. When something shameful happens, your brain reacts to this stimulus by sending signals to the rest of your body that lead you to feel frozen in place.

    Why does trauma store in hips? ›

    The hips are an important storage vessel of emotional stress because of the psoas' link to the adrenal glands and the location of the sacral chakra.

    What part of the body does trauma affect? ›

    The physiological effects of trauma. Dr. Celan explains that trauma sensitizes something called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is the body's central stress response system. You can think of this as the intersection of our central nervous system and endocrine system.

    What are 5 negative coping strategies? ›

    Negative coping responses
    • Criticizing yourself (negative self-talk)
    • Driving fast in a car.
    • Chewing your fingernails.
    • Becoming aggressive or violent (hitting someone, throwing or kicking something)
    • Eating too much or too little or drinking a lot of coffee.
    • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
    • Drinking alcohol.

    What is the most unhealthy coping mechanism? ›

    Relying on drugs, alcohol, dysfunctional eating patterns or gambling are just a few of the most obvious forms. However, virtually anything can turn into an addiction over time, even simple things like exercise, work or watching the TV. Subtle addictions may not seem to be particularly destructive.

    What worsens PTSD? ›

    Triggers can include sights, sounds, smells, or thoughts that remind you of the traumatic event in some way. Some PTSD triggers are obvious, such as seeing a news report of an assault. Others are less clear. For example, if you were attacked on a sunny day, seeing a bright blue sky might make you upset.

    What are the 6 phases of healing emotional trauma? ›

    Those are the six: despair, education, awakening, boundaries, restoration and then maintenance.

    Does talking about trauma make it worse? ›

    Everything. Talking about the trauma, even just trying to put what happened into words, can actually worsen a victim's trauma by re-activating it in the brain, and embedding it deeper.

    What is a fawn trauma response? ›

    What is fawning? Fawning is a trauma response where a person develops people-pleasing behaviors to avoid conflict and to establish a sense of safety. In other words, the fawn trauma response is a type of coping mechanism that survivors of complex trauma adopt to "appease" their abusers.

    What trauma does to the brain? ›

    Trauma can cause your brain to remain in a state of hypervigilance, suppressing your memory and impulse control and trapping you in a constant state of strong emotional reactivity.

    What should you not say to a traumatized person? ›

    Things Never to Say to Trauma Survivors
    • It's Time to Move On.
    • It could not have been that bad.
    • Stop Being Negative.
    • If You Continue Dwelling On It, Then You'll Never Move On.
    • Do You Think You'll Ever Stop Being Depressed?
    • You're a Survivor, So Quit Being a Victim.
    • It Could Always Be Worse.

    What is trauma dumping? ›

    Trauma dumping: With trauma dumping, you overshare difficult or intimate personal information without the other person's consent or during inappropriate times. You don't consider how your words impact the listener, and you're not open to advice or solutions.

    What is an emotional shock? ›

    Emotional shock is a reaction that you may have to an unexpected event or traumatic incident that upsets you and makes it hard for you to function, says Aimee Daramus, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of “Understanding Bipolar Disorder.”

    What are the four behaviors of a person with trauma? ›

    Beyond the initial emotional reactions during the event, those most likely to surface include anger, fear, sadness, and shame. However, individuals may encounter difficulty in identifying any of these feelings for various reasons.

    What is trauma bombing? ›

    After an abusive incident, an abuser often begins the stages of trauma bonding all over again by love bombing the victim and regaining their trust. The victim may make excuses for the abuser's behavior. Things may seem like they're returning to "normal," until another incident of abuse occurs.

    How do you break a trauma cycle? ›

    A trauma cycle is when someone experiences trauma and then creates a similar experience for children in their care.
    How to break the cycle
    1. Acknowledge the trauma. ...
    2. Consider reaching out to a professional. ...
    3. Try connecting with supportive people.
    Jun 17, 2022

    Do traumatized people know they are traumatized? ›

    Trauma happens to everyone.

    It can be physical, mental, or emotional. Many do not realize they have had a traumatic experience because most believe “a trauma” is only something dramatic or changes their world entirely.

    Does trauma change your personality? ›

    Further research has linked trauma to quantifiable changes in personality. In a comparison of late-onset personality pathology due to wartime trauma with prior personality disorders, 24.3% of patients had a personality disorder develop only after exposure to catastrophic events.

    How do you know if you have unhealed trauma? ›

    Cognitive Signs of Unhealed Trauma

    You may experience nightmares or flashbacks that take you back to the traumatic event. Furthermore, you may struggle with mood swings, as well as disorientation and confusion, which can make it challenging to perform daily tasks.

    What is the trauma triangle? ›

    The trauma triangle has three sides or perspectives: victim, rescuer, and persecutor. Each perspective uses a different tactic for avoiding responsibility. The victim takes no responsibility at all. The persecutor blames others and therefore makes other people responsible.

    What are the six principles of trauma? ›

    Healthcare organizations, nurses and other medical staff need to know the six principles of trauma-informed care: safety; trustworthiness and transparency; peer support; collaboration and mutuality; empowerment, voice and choice; and cultural issues.

    What are body based interventions for trauma? ›

    Somatic Experiencing is a body-centered approach to treating PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that, rather than focusing only on thoughts or emotions associated with a traumatic event, expands to include the natural bodily (somatic) responses.

    What is a healthy response to trauma? ›

    Relax – use relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathing or meditation, or do things you enjoy, such as listening to music or gardening. Express your feelings as they arise – talk to someone about your feelings or write them down. When the trauma brings up memories or feelings, try to confront them.

    What are 3 types of traumatic events? ›

    There are three main types of trauma: Acute, Chronic, or Complex
    • Acute trauma results from a single incident.
    • Chronic trauma is repeated and prolonged such as domestic violence or abuse.
    • Complex trauma is exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature.

    What are 3 examples of stressful or traumatic events? ›

    Examples of one-time traumatic events are:
    • Natural disasters, such as a tornado, hurricane, fire, or flood.
    • Sexual assault.
    • Physical assault.
    • Witness shooting or stabbing of a person.
    • Sudden death of a parent or trusted caregiver.
    • Hospitalization.
    Oct 2, 2020

    What is the most common trauma response? ›

    Initial reactions to trauma can include exhaustion, confusion, sadness, anxiety, agitation, numbness, dissociation, confusion, physical arousal, and blunted affect. Most responses are normal in that they affect most survivors and are socially acceptable, psychologically effective, and self-limited.

    How do I know if I am traumatized? ›

    Intrusive memories

    Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event. Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks) Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.

    Who is most vulnerable to trauma? ›

    Populations at Risk
    • Trauma and Substance Use. There is a strong connection between traumatic stress and substance abuse that has implications for children and families.
    • Economic Stress. ...
    • Military and Veteran Families. ...
    • Youth Who Experience Homelessness. ...
    • LGBTQ Youth. ...
    • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

    What is a Type 1 trauma? ›

    Type 1 refers to single-incident traumas which are unexpected and come out of the blue. They can be referred to as big T trauma, shock or acute trauma. A condition related to big T trauma or Type 1 trauma is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Examples of type 1 trauma might include: Severe illness or injury.

    What years of life are the most stressful? ›

    A shocking 91% of the respondents of our survey were stressed at one point or the other in their life. Out of which, we found that the most stressed were the respondents in their late twenties and thirties. There was an increase in the stress levels until the age of 40, after which it starts reducing.

    What are the signs of toxic stress? ›

    Physical pain, such as headaches and gastrointestinal distress — prolonged stress has been linked to chronic migraine and/or ulcers. Sleep disturbances and nightmares — can lead to problems with attention and focus as well as anxiety. Social withdrawal. Impulsive and risky behavior.


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