In our previous article, we talked about explaining what trauma is and the types of trauma people may experience in their lives. In this article we explore common reactions and physical responses people may experience.
To quickly recap, trauma is an overwhelming and often debilitation reaction to an event or experience, such as sexual assaults, violence, bias-motivated violence, multiple experiences with discrimination, repeated abuse, and near death experiences. Many find it hard to process or cope with the trauma.
Below are some common reactions people may experience from a traumatic event.
Common reactions to trauma
Emotional and Behavioural Responses:
- Feeling unsafe
- Unable to trust others
- Flash backs of the event/s
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawing from social engagements (hanging out with friends and family)
- Insomnia or disrupted sleep
- Muscle tension
- Chest pain
- Chronic unexplained pain
- Health changes
- Violent outburst
How to cope
If the person who is experiencing trauma are in immediate danger – please call 000 in the first instance.
Sometimes processing the experience in a healthy way can be challenging. Some people may not have access to services or money to pay for services to help them move forward.
If your trauma is physical, please either visit your nearest hospital or your doctor for assessment and treatment.
In Australia, for psychological distress you have a few options
- Find a therapist that specialises in trauma recovery and book an appointment.
- If money is tight visit your GP and ask for a Mental Health Care Plan to see a registered Psychologist for 5+ sessions.
- Alternatively, some local community centres may be able to direct you to support services.
Some tips to help while you wait for treatment:
Sometimes when people experience trauma, they may not feel as if they need therapy or any support. Everyone has different experiences and ways of processing traumatic events.
Should you find you have some of the above symptoms, the suggestions below may help you get through to today until you can speak to a professional therapist.
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions in a safe way
- Ensure basic needs are being met
- Focus on you and your needs right now
- Take one-day as it comes
- Look at what you may need to do for yourself night now
- What coping strategies do you have currently? Are they working?
- Who are your support people? Who can you call when you are down?
- Avoid alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
- Eat clean and healthy foods to help nourish your mind and body.