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Coping with Traumatic Events

What is considered "normal" after we have experienced a traumatic event?  And what can we do about it to help ourselves or others?

But first off, what exactly is trauma?

Trauma is defined as exposure to actual or threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence by:

(a) directly experiencing the event

(b) witnessing, in person, the event occurring to others

(c) learning that such an event happened to a close family member or friend, or

(d) experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of such events - vicarious trauma (DSM-V).

Everyone responds to trauma in their own particular way and just because we have experienced trauma does not mean we will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is normal to experience the following right after a traumatic event:

  • Shock, denial, or disbelief.
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating.
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings.
  • Anxiety and fear.
  • Guilt, shame,...
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