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The word trauma often brings to mind war and early childhood abuse, but these are not the only circumstances that can be traumatic. Trauma is defined not by the event, but rather by the individual's response to the event. Events that are most likely to cause traumatic reactions tend to involve actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence.

Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is developed when trauma reactions persist for over a month. If you are experiencing trauma directly after an event, seeking help is important to help curb the development of PTSD.

Signs of Trauma & PTSD

  • Intrusive flashbacks, memories, or dreams

  • Intense or prolonged emotional or physical distress in response to a reminder of the event

  • Altered behavior such as aggression (to self or others), poor concentration, or hyper-vigilance

  • Negative thoughts and mood, such as excessive guilt or shame

  • Dissociation or loss of awareness of present surroundings

  • Social withdrawal and/or diminished interest in significant activities

Coping Tips for Trauma and PTSD

  • Make small changes at a time to begin to rebuild your normal routine.

  • Remember that healing is not about forgetting the event. Memories will remain, but the frequency and duration of their intrusion can be managed.

  • Practice relaxation skills when you are calm so that you know what to achieve when you need it most. 

  • Remember there is no shame in removing yourself from a triggering situation.

  • Breathe slowly and remind yourself that a flashback does not mean you are in danger. Open your eyes and make yourself aware of your surroundings.

Online Resources

Trauma and PTSD: Text
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