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Reactions to Trauma

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Traumas come in many forms: accidents, terrorism, war, rape and more.  They can be overwhelming emotional events. Even though you already may have had strong feelings, be aware that you also may have strong emotional or physical reactions at a later time. It is very common, and quite normal, for people to experience emotional aftershocks when they have passed through such a distressing event.  Sometimes emotional aftershocks or stress reactions appear immediately after the event. Sometimes they appear a few hours or a few days later.  And, in some cases, weeks or months may pass before the stress reaction appears.

Signs and symptoms of a stress reaction may last a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months or occasionally longer. With understanding and the support of loved ones, stress reactions will usually pass more quickly. Occasionally, the event is so painful that professional assistance from a mental health professional may be necessary. A need for professional help does not imply craziness or weakness. It simply indicates that this particular event was too powerful for the person to manage by himself or herself at this time. Here are some common signs and symptoms of stress reactions in a traumatized person. The advice is broken down by age categories in order to help apply the assistance that is most helpful to each age group.

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