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All About Trauma

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.

How do people respond to traumatic events?

People respond to traumatic events in different ways. Often there are no visible signs, but people may have serious emotional reactions.
Shock and denial shortly after the event are normal reactions.
Shock and denial are often used to protect yourself from the emotional impact of the event. You may feel numb or detached. You may not feel the event’s full intensity right away.

How can you manage traumatic stress?

There are several ways to help restore your emotional stability after a traumatic event:

  • Notice if you feel a pull to avoid things in your life and try to stay engaged in routines like work and social life
  • Spend time with others to avoid becoming withdrawn, even if you do not feel up to it.
  • Pursue hobbies or other interests.
  • Communicate the experience with family or close friends or in a diary or online journal.
  • Give yourself time and recognize that you can’t control everything.
  • Ask for support from people who care about you or attend a local or online support group for people who have had a similar experience.
  • Find a support group led by a trained professional who can facilitate discussions.
  • Try to eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, get adequate rest, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • If you believe you have symptoms of substance use disorder, talk with a healthcare professional who can help you create a treatment plan and connect you with supportive resources.
  • Maintain a daily routine with structured activities.
  • Avoid major life decisions, such as changing careers or moving, soon after the event.

When should you contact a professional?

You should seek professional help if symptoms persist and interfere with day-to-day activities, school or work performance, or personal relationships.

Experiences with traumatic stress can appear much different for children. Signs that a child may need professional help to cope with a traumatic event include:

  • emotional outbursts
  • aggressive behavior
  • withdrawal
  • persistent difficulty in sleeping
  • continued obsession with the traumatic event
  • serious problems at school

Presently Senior Consultant Orthopedics & Joint Replacement, Apollomedics Super Speciality Hospital, Lucknow

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