After a traumatic event people may experience many powerful emotions. For most
individuals, the intense feelings of anxiety, sadness, grief and anger have been
healthy and appropriate. These feelings usually decrease over time and affect
daily life less and less.
Nevertheless, some individuals may have a greater and debilitating reaction to a
traumatic event. Understanding what is a normal response to an abnormal situation, and
what signs might indicate an individual may have a more serious problem, will help
determine if and when to seek help from a mental health professional (ADAA).
It is “normal” to have difficulty managing feelings following a traumatic
event. Individuals may experience some common symptoms in the days and
weeks consequent to such an event, such as:
Disbelief and shock
Fear and anxiety about the future
Disorientation; difficulty making decisions or concentrating
Inability to focus
Apathy and emotional numbing
Irritability and anger
Sadness and depression
Extreme changes in eating patterns; loss of appetite or overeating
Crying for “no apparent reason”
Headaches and stomach problems
Excessive use of alcohol and drugs
It is important to remember that everyone reacts uniquely to a traumatic event and
each person has their own tolerance level for such events and dealing with difficult feelings.
Experts suggest various tips to cope with these challenging emotions.
- Remain engaged in one’s routine
- Stay connected to others
- Stay optimistic
- Try to make changes that will improve your life
Signs to Seek Help
I feelings do not alleviate over time and are so intense that they impair your
ability to function in daily life, you may have a diagnosable disorder that
requires mental healthcare.
There are signs that can help you determine whether you are having a normal reaction to crisis or if you‟re experiencing a mental health problem.
These signs include:
Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the event
Being unable to stop thinking about what happened
Avoiding thoughts, feelings or conversations that remind you of the event
Avoiding places or people that remind you of the event
Having a sense of a foreshortened future
Continued difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Feeling jumpy or easily startled
Being overly concerned about safety
Feeling guilty, worthless or hopeless
Not taking pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Having thoughts of death or suicide
If you are experiencing these symptoms, speaking with a mental health
professional or taking a mental health screening can help you understand how
well you are coping with the recent events. Take that step and get help.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.