Coping with Trauma

In the course of a lifetime, most of us will experience personally traumatic incidents. A serious conflict within your family, the death of a friend or family member, an unwanted pregnancy, a serious health problem, or being victimized by a violent act, etc, can all leave us with painful feelings and cause us to wonder, "Are these feelings normal?"

Painful feelings are a normal reaction to traumatic events and are part of the natural healing process. There's very little you can do to make yourself not experience these uncomfortable feelings, but there are things you can do to promote a healthy recovery. If you have experienced an intense traumatic situation recently, you may experience some of these reactions:

Physical Reactions:
Fatigue, not sleeping or too much sleeping, a low level of activity or hyperactivity, headaches, nightmares, startle reactions, exhaustion, diarrhea.

Cognitive Reactions:
Difficulty concentrating, solving problems or making decisions, troubles with memory or flashbacks of the trauma.

Emotional Reactions:
Fear, guilt, emotional numbing or over-sensitivity, anger, irritability, anxiety, depression, violent fantasies, feelings of helplessness, and amnesia for the event.

If a friend you are helping is experiencing these feelings and they are interfering with their daily life or prohibiting them from enjoying activities they once found pleasurable, you may wish to consult Counseling Services.