Individuals can react in very different ways to such trauma but there are some typical, normal post-traumatic reactions.
- Numbness, shock and denial
- Depression, helplessness and hopelessness
- Irritation and anger
- Flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive memories
- Loss of faith and trust
- Changes in thinking and perceiving
- Changes to the nervous system
- Changes in relationships
Many of these reactions will occur not only if individuals have been the “primary” victim of a particular incident but also if one of their loved ones or close friends or colleagues has been involved in such an incident (the “Ripple Effect”).
Sudden trauma may also disturb, not just because of what did happen but what might have happened.
Whilst most individuals adjust successfully after a traumatic event, within a few months, certain individuals do develop a post-traumatic psychiatric condition, the best known of which is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).