Common Reactions to Trauma

No two people will process any traumatic event in the same way. Responses to trauma can be immediate or delayed (days, months, or years after the incident). While there are individual differences to survivors’ experiences of trauma, there are common reactions that are normative and natural. It is important to note that trauma can immediately activate our sympathetic nervous system and prepare our bodies for involuntary fight, flight, and/or freeze responses.                                         

Individuals may experience some or many of the following immediate reactions:

Physical Effects

Physical 

Tonic immobility, auditory exclusion, inability to form words or speak.

Cognitive Effects

Cognitive 

Memory loss or memory is out of order (memories may return after sleep cycles), difficulty concentrating, or confusion.

Emotional Effects

Emotional

Dispropriate reactions, irritability, defensiveness, unexpected mood swings, or anger. 

Social Effects

Social 

Avoidance/withdrawal from people and activities, hypersensitivity, etc. 

 

Click here for a comprehensive list of common reactions to trauma.

Escape: immediate exit from website

Escape

IMMEDIATE EXIT FROM THIS WEBSITE

Use this button to immediately leave the Office of Victim Services' site. You will be taken to another website unrelated to the Office of Victim Services.