December 7, 2023

Effects of Trauma

70% of people in the U.S. have experienced some sort of traumatic event at least once in their lives. A traumatic event is an incident that causes physical, emotional, or psychological harm. Examples of traumatic events include:

  • Physical pain or injury
  • Serious illness
  • War
  • Natural disasters
  • Terrorism
  • Witnessing a death
  • Rape
  • Domestic abuse

Different people respond to traumatic events in different ways. Sometimes there are no visible signs, but some common emotional signs are anger, anxiety, numbness, depression, and mood swings. Shock and denial shortly after a traumatic event are also common and normal. Shock and denial are often used to protect from the emotional impact of the event. Moving past the initial shock usually takes 4–6 weeks after the event. When someone has moved past the initial shock, some other common responses include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Isolation
  • Continued avoidance of reminders of the event
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches and nausea