Common Trauma Reactions

When someone is victimized by violence, or witnesses a violent act, it is common for them to experience some form of trauma. Over time, as they process their feelings and work through them, they will learn to move through the trauma. Every individual is different and will have different reactions to trauma. Most of these reactions will diminish over time and it is important to remember that they are completely NORMAL.


Experiencing difficulties with sleeping

• Insomnia

• Sleeping too much

• Sleeping too little

• Having nightmares


Undergoing changes in thoughts

• Having flashbacks

• Frequent and intrusive thoughts about the incident

• Loss of memory of some or all of the event

• Confusion

• Feeling unable to concentrate


Going through changes in emotions

• Having anxiety or fear

• Feeling panicked or hyper vigilant

• Being angry, irritable, argumentative, or tense

• Sadness, depression, uncontrollable crying

• Feeling guilty

• Feeling detached from other people

• Experiencing shock, disbelief, or numbness

• Having a sense of hopelessness or experiencing thoughts about hurting self or others


Experiencing physical symptoms

• Headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension

• Shortness of breath, sweating, feeling like heart is racing

• Nausea, changes in eating habits, weight loss or gain

• Having a heightened startle response


Experiencing changes in relationships

• Not wanting to be alone

• Avoiding friends and family

• Changes in sexual behavior

• Fighting or tension


Undergoing changes in everyday activities

• Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable

• Changes in work patterns

• Becoming at-risk for abuse of drugs, alcohol, or prescribed medications


Feeling a real or perceived sense of loss of:

• Safety and trust

• Personal boundaries

• Innocence

• Composure and control

• Personal belongings