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7 Impacts of a Traumatic Event

1. Psychological Impact:

Trauma can have a profound psychological impact, often leading to a range of emotional responses. These may include intense fear, shock, helplessness, horror, anger, guilt, or sadness. Some individuals may also experience feelings of detachment or emotional numbness as a way to cope with the overwhelming experience.
Young marine having PTSD.

2. Moral Injury:

When Veterans, active military personnel, or first responders witness or are required to participate in an action that conflicts with their moral or ethical values, moral injury can result. Moral injury can have an extreme impact on mental-health and well-being. Experiencing guilt, shame, or a conscience crisis may be the result of witnessed actions or active participation actions of others during their duty.

3. Relationship Strain:

 It is not surprising the line of work military service persons, Veterans and emergency response workers encounter on the job, can place a significant strain on relationships. Difficulty communicating and emotional distancing, withdrawing from social activities, or difficulty trusting others, can result and bring immense challenges to maintain healthy relationships.

4. Physical Reactions:

Research has shown traumatic events can trigger a physical response to the body. The physical response can include trembling, an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, or a feeling of being on high alert which is a natural fight-or-flight response,  preparing an individual to react to danger.

5. Flashbacks and Intrusive Memories:

Flashbacks and intrusive memories of the traumatic event can occur. Reminders of the event can trigger these reactions and a person may feel as though they are reliving the traumatic experience. Additionally, intrusive thoughts, distressing dreams and even nightmares related to the trauma may also occur.

6. Avoidance and Numbing:

Some individuals may attempt to avoid anything that reminds them of the traumatic event. This can involve avoiding certain places, people, activities, or even emotions associated with the event. In order for a person to protect themselves from encountering additional distress it is common for some people to experience emotional numbing or avoid situations that could remind them of event including people, activities or places associated with their trauma.
African american man with beard stressful keeping hands on head, terrified in panic, shouting

7. Hyperarousal and Hypervigilance:

 Hyperarousal refers to a state of increased sensitivity to potential threats or danger. It can manifest as being easily startled, having difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritability, or a constant feeling of being on edge. Hypervigilance is a heightened state of alertness and constant scanning of the environment for potential threats.