Coping with Traumatic Events

Coping with traumatic events

Traumatic events can affect someone not only emotionally but also physically. These can be scary, shocking or dangerous experiences like

  • acts of violence such as terrorist attacks mass shooting
  • car crashes and other accidents
  • natural disasters
  • hurricane
  • Earthquakes and floods

Coping with a traumatic event can be very challenging for anyone. scientists and researchers have been investigating to understand what could be done to help people cope with such traumatic events as mentioned above. The goal is to make sure that the person who has experienced a traumatic event does not experience physical or emotional problems

Signs of concern

Let us now take a look at some of the warning signs. When someone undergoes a traumatic experience their response can be immediate or it may start after sometime or it can go on for a long time or it could be a quick and fast one. In general, these responses could go on for several weeks or even months after someone experiencing a traumatic event. The most commonly observed responses include

  • Feel of sad
  •  having trouble focusing
  •  trouble sleeping
  •  feeling worried and or angry
  •  most commonly , not able to stop thinking about what took place

The encouraging part is that most of these responses generally fade away with time.
In some cases, however, responses go on and continue to exist for a long periods of time and they can even grow in intensity and start to interfere with the person's day to day life. It is in these cases that professional help may be needed so that one can carry on with their daily life. So what should one be looking for to determine if they need professional help?

  •  trouble sleeping and experiencing Nightmares
  •  separate themselves away from family and friends
  •  seen to be crying all the time
  •  feel resentful , angry about what took place
  •  think about reliving the experience
  •  feel very sad, fearful
  •  worried a lot
  •  having difficulty in carrying out any sort of thinking process
  •  clearly avoiding people, events, places and circumstances that seem to bring back event-related memories.

In case of children, however, a specific separate set of symptoms are observed. These include

  • Forgetting how to talk
  • Bed wetting when not age-appropriate
  • act out the traumatic event while they play.
  • Remain too much attached to a parent

older children often show symptoms similar to that of an adult. In addition older children are likely to feel guilty for not being able to stop what happened such as injury or death. Older children and teens me also develop thoughts of Revenge.
So far whatever I have explained above fall into the emotional or psychological side of the spectrum. Let us now look at some of the possible and most commonly observed physical symptoms.  these include


  •  Feeling tired
  •  pumping heart rate
  •  excessive sweating
  •  easily startled
  •  experience issues related to digestion and headaches

 lack of appropriate support from family and friends, those who have already undergone some sort of a traumatic experience in the past, any existing mental health condition may complicate the effect of automatic event experience.

As a coping mechanism people are seen to turn towards alcohol or other Drugs. Although they seem to find relief in the short term, often drug abuse leads to a new set of problems and can hamper the overall recovery process.


How to cope
 as mentioned above alcohol and other drugs are some quickly responses by people who have undergone a traumatic experience and are feeling its effects. But they are not very healthy choices. Let us now look at some of the healthy ways of coping with a traumatic event experience.

  • the first step is to not turn towards alcohol or other related drugs
  • next is to make use of all possible support lines , support structures available such as taking support from friends and family. and spending time with them.
  • Try to maintain regular normal routine as if nothing wrong has happened. That means, maintaining regular schedule for things like sleep, exercise are eating habits
  • staying active in daily life.
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