Post Trauma Reaction is NOT the same as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post Trauma Reaction, although incredibly distressing, is a normal and natural response to a shock or a dreadful situation

It is perfectly normal, although, of course, immensely distressing, to have strong reactions following a heart-breaking, frightening or upsetting event, but these should begin to reduce gradually after a few weeks … sometimes very gradually

Post Trauma Stress Disorder is usually diagnosed when the very severe effects have gone on for too long

The reactions may be a lot more severe and do not gradually subside after a month or even several weeks, months or years. They may persist and become quite debilitating. It is also true that these responses may not be visible to other people in some cases. Some people almost ‘seize up’ and carry their responses inside but those responses can still affect them physically, emotionally and mentally and disturb their life in very many ways.

Emergency Mode

The human body and mind will go into a state of heightened arousal as a safety measure. Adrenaline and other stress hormones are released to provide us with energy to fight or flee as a reaction to an emergency. Sometimes we may go into a ‘freeze’ response and be unable to think or act logically.

These responses may be so strong that a sense of fatigue can set in for a while but generally they do not last too long after the immediate threat has subsided. This is how the normal healing and recovery process occurs.

It can be horrendous but it is a natural response and generally will lessen gradually.

Acknowledgement and support is vital whether it is the more immediate Post Trauma reaction or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Family and friends can provide much of this support but medical and psychological support should definitely be sought if the problems linger on significantly for more than a few weeks

In these COVID times many people have been faced with frightening/painful physical symptoms, extreme fear, heartbreak, unbearable loneliness and having to cope with the death of loved ones.

We have a Trauma Series of audios which can help people cope with some of these typical post-traumatic responses. Flashbacks, Hyper-arousal and general feelings of high anxiety and misery. Clearly if you have PTSD you need, as I said earlier, psychological and/or medical help but these audios could still provide a level of calming and comfort. You can read the descriptions and listen to the samples here https://www.firstwayforward.com/product-tag/trauma/

These are typical Post Trauma Reactions

  • Anxiety and fear and feelings of numbness
  • Re-experiencing of the trauma. Unwanted thoughts and or flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Increased vigilance is also a common response to trauma. This includes feeling “on guard,” jumpy, jittery, shaky, nervous, on edge, being easily startled, and having trouble concentrating or sleeping
  •  Avoidance of situations that remind you of the trauma. Forgetfulness of parts of the trauma and forgetfulness in general
  • Anger
  • General Guilt feelings, Survivor guilt, Shame
  • Grief and depression
  •  Negative Self-image and negative views of the world
  • Lack of trust in people
  • Sexual relationships may also suffer after a traumatic experience.
  • Increased use of alcohol or other substances

If some of the above symptoms could apply to you or your loved ones particularly if they have persisted strongly for more than 4-6 weeks please seek help in the first instance from your GP

Remember our Trauma Series of audios here can help with some of these symptoms
https://www.firstwayforward.com/product-tag/trauma/

This is a helpful site:

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/overview/