Reactions to Trauma

Everyone has a different reaction to traumatic events. Each person’s timing is different too. For some, the reaction is immediate and dramatic.  For some, the reaction it is short lived and for others it can seem like it will last forever. Others have slow and delayed reactions.  Some people are very visible with their responses and others keep it to themselves. There are as many different ways to handle emotional or traumatic news, as there are different people in the world.

When something happens that reminds you of a previous threatening or emotional situation, it can trigger a trauma response. Trauma triggers include sounds, smells or visual things.  The news report of another violent crime, a song you hear, a dream of someone or a flashback memory can be traumatic triggers.  Traumatic triggers can make it seem like you’re right back there.

Some of the most common reactions to critical situations are:

  • Feeling emotionally “numb”, withdrawn, disconnected or different from others
  • Recurring thoughts or nightmares about the event
  • Trouble sleeping or changes in appetite
  • Being on edge, being easily startled or becoming overly alert
  • Feeling depressed, sad and having low energy
  • Experiencing memory problems
  • Feeling “scattered” and unable to focus
  • Feeling irritable, easily agitated, or angry and resentful
  • Spontaneously crying, feeling a sense of despair and hopelessness

Seek help, if you are concerned about your feelings or reactions or about a friend, member of your family.  You can call us at Jefferson Center, 303 425-0300.  Jefferson Center is a partner in the statewide crisis network called Colorado Crisis Services available for any mental health, substance use or emotional crisis, 24/7. Call 1-844-493-8255 or Text TALK to 38255 to access Colorado Crisis Services.