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Six common reactions to trauma

Trauma is a response that derives from experiencing something stressful or distressing. The cause may include abuse, neglect, violence, or natural disasters.
Trauma is challenging and can have lasting consequences, with long-term and chronic trauma sometimes resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But trauma is difficult to measure since what is considered traumatic to some, will not be to others.

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Common Reactions to Trauma

1.      Flashbacks can occur when a memory cue or trigger takes place. This may result in reliving the entire experience.

2.      The brain processes events long after they have happened, even when a person is asleep. After trauma, nightmares can be frequent and distressing.

3.      Distrust can be a common feeling, especially if the trauma occurred whilst we were off guard.

4.      Anger can also be a normal reaction to trauma. Whether that be general irritability, anger at the person or thing that caused the trauma, or anger at ourselves when we hold ourselves responsible.

5.      Feelings of anxiety and fear can be overwhelming, as our nervous system struggles to function optimally in the aftermath of trauma.

6.      Sadness is also a common emotion, especially as the nervous system comes down from a state of adrenal response.

Trauma Informed Practice Training

Specialist trauma informed practice training is available for anyone who supports people who have experienced trauma. Trauma-informed practice training allows us to gain an insight into the issues of those who require support as a result of trauma and to formulate sensitive, objective responses. Trauma informed care focuses on validating an individual’s experience of PTSD, understanding that their behaviours are a symptom of what they have experienced.

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With the right care and support network, we can empower those who have suffered from trauma to slowly rebuild and take back control of their lives.


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