Many people will see or personally experience traumatic events throughout their lives, and people can be exposed to traumatic events in numerous ways. Experiencing a traumatic event, even ones that don’t appear traumatic on the surface can be highly distressful. During these moments, you should seek psychiatric help for more specific advice to help you learn ways to cope with the event and its aftermath. If you think you’ve experienced a traumatic event, seek a professional or specialist for advice without delay. However, if you find yourself experiencing emotions you don’t understand or have general questions about these types of scenarios, then we’re here to provide general information to help inform you about how to recognize symptoms and seek out professional help.
Traumatic Events and The Feelings Afterwards
Traumatic events, including natural disasters, the death of a loved one, witnessing a violent death, and a life-threatening illness diagnosis, can all cause numerous emotional side effects afterward due to their intensity and severity. People exposed to traumatic events can experience them directly or indirectly, often occurring to them or someone around them. It’s important to remember that even experiences not commonly described can feel traumatic. Those who work in jobs related to emergency services may also experience traumatic effects more regularly.
The Symptoms of A Traumatic Event
After traumatic events, it’s common for people to experience the following emotions and events, which include:
- Memories, Dreams, or Flashbacks: Common, reoccurring memories, dreams, and nightmares can occur after a traumatic event. Flashbacks can also occur and cause people to re-experience the event as if it’s happening again.
- Extreme Feelings of Distress: After experiencing a traumatic event, people might feel highly upset when they’re near where the event happened or are located in an environment that reminds them of the event.
- Avoidance of Feelings and Situations: Avoidance tends to be one of the first responses to help avoid memories, thoughts, and feeling about the people and places associated with the event.
- Memory Loss: In many cases, people can experience memory loss after the event, where attempting to recall the event is blocked by the brain due to how traumatic the experience was to the person.
- Negative Feelings: Another clear sign of trauma is extreme, negative emotions that occur more regularly, including feeling negative about yourself and others, blaming yourself or others for the event, and feelings of anger, shame, horror, sadness, and depression.
- Changes in Normal Behavior: Alongside negative emotions, changes in behavior can occur, causing detachment from others, lack of interest in daily activities, constant hypervigilance, and reckless or self-destructive acts.
For those experiencing these emotions, it can take days, months, and even years to recover from traumatic events. Normally, after a period of three months or more, these negative emotions and actions can develop as PTSD. If you find yourself experiencing these emotions after a traumatic event, it’s important to seek a mental health professional to learn about ways to speak about the event, seek out support, and take care of yourself to find a way towards recovery.