Stress and Trauma Responses

Definition – Emotional and behavioral concerns that may result from traumatic and stressful experiences. They may be a result of an individual being exposed to physical or emotional violence or pain and can be a result of a single or multiple stressful or traumatic events.

Feels Like:

Distracted or trouble focusing
Night terrors
Stomach pains
Feel numb
Fatigue
Trouble sleeping
Frustration
Distressing thoughts
Feeling down

Feels Like:

Distant (cold shoulder)
Reluctant to share
Controlling
Drinking in excess
Working more, or distracting oneself
“Shut down”
Irritable or unapproachable
Avoiding situations, people, or places
Participating in risky behaviors

These are normal reactions to the stressors you are experiencing, and you may feel a wide range of thoughts and emotions, such as anger, confusion, or depression. Everyone will respond differently, or some may appear to not respond at all.

Remember, it can also impact those around you:

  • You can expect that colleagues, family, and friends will have their own unique responses. Their reactions may be similar to yours, or they may be very different, and that`s okay.
  • Also, they can be responding more to your reactions, than the event or stressor.

The importance of talking to a clinician:

  • We can find understanding and encouragement in our support networks.
  • We begin to think more logically and lessen the intensity of our reactions.
  • Lowers the risk of “acting out” our emotions and displaying avoidance behaviors or isolating.

Address your baseline:

  • Be aware of what your normal range is for sleeping, eating, and energy levels. If your baseline feels off 3-4 weeks after an incident, reach out to your support network.
  • Knowing resources that are available to you, like peer support or your EAP, can be beneficial for yourself and those around you.
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