Listed below are common reactions associated with trauma, this list is
not exclusive. In the weeks following a trauma, or even years later,
expect any of these reactions:
- Distressing recollections
or memories of the event, including images or thoughts that happen
without warning at the strangest times.
dreams of the event or difficulty going to sleep for fear of having
dreams about what happened.
- Acting or feeling
as if the traumatic event were recurring.
- Intense distress from
exposure to internal cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the
event (e.g. fear, anxiety).
- Physical reactions
and sensations upon exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize
or resemble an aspect of
nausea, difficulty breathing, faintness, fear, worry and hurt).
to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma.
to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse
recollections of the trauma.
- Inability to recall
an important aspect of the trauma.
- Diminished interest
or participation in significant activities, personal relationships, school
- Feeling of detachment
or estrangement from others.
- Unable to experience
pleasure, joy, or loving feelings.
- Sense of a foreshortened
future (e.g., do not expect to have a career, marriage, or children,
or a normal
- Difficulty falling
or staying asleep.
- Irritability or outbursts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hypervigilance - chronic
state of fear/intense worry that something else is about to happen, constant
state of alert.
- Exaggerated startle
response (e.g. jumpy, easily startled by sounds, sights, smells,
you of what
It is not unusual
to experience some or all of these reactions during the
follow a traumatic
event. When the
trauma is a disaster
external event, reactions may be experienced
even longer, especially when physical
reminders of the
be avoided or
when the details of the incident are
kept alive in the media for an
If there is no appropriate intervention
provided trauma reactions can last
for years after
the experience, or suddenly reappear
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Parents Trauma Resource Center
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© TLC Institute 2004