Trauma (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Sometimes in life we have experiences which we find hard to understand, adjust to or cope with. Any event or incident can be considered traumatic if it is very upsetting, scary, shocking or causes physical or emotional harm directly (to them) or indirectly (to someone else). As people cope and manage with situations differently, people will experience situations differently and will cope differently. There is no right or wrong way to respond to difficult, upsetting or frightening experiences.

It is understandable that after a difficult, upsetting or frightening experience people may experience difficulties or changes such as:

All these things are understandable and normal when you’ve been through a really tough time. For most people these difficulties and changes will only last a few days or weeks. With love and support from those around you, you will adjust and cope.

For some people, having a difficult experience can be very traumatic. A person may experience trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a single traumatic (upsetting or frightening) incident or many traumatic events. People who are experiencing trauma may experience symptoms such as:

These symptoms often last many weeks or months and can really impact on how people cope every day. Activities like going to school, seeing friends and even sleeping and eating are affected. If you are experiencing symptoms like these and they have lasted longer than a month, it might be a good idea to get some help.

It is important to remember that not everyone who experiences a difficult or traumatic event will experience psychological trauma (or PTSD) and that it is normal to feel upset and struggle to cope after a difficult or upsetting event.

Top Tips
1

It is important to remember that everyone copes with things differently. If you are struggling to cope after a traumatic event, it is important to let someone know and get help, support and advice. Talk to someone you trust such as a parent, carer, teacher or your GP.

2

There are many strategies and techniques to help you cope with flashbacks and anxiety. Visit the Youth Anxiety BC website and check the anxiety help section on this website.

3

Some people find it helpful to keep a log of when they experience trauma symptoms (such as flashbacks) to notice if there are patterns or triggers (things or situations that are more likely to make a flashback happen). If you notice patterns or triggers, this might help you to make a plan of how to manage these situations if they come up.

4

Having hobbies and interests and spending time with friends can be really helpful when you are experiencing symptoms of trauma as they can be a good distraction. Try to plan regular time to do activities and see friends.

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  • Symptoms and Strategies for PTSD in Children and Teens - credit AnxietyBC
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  • Adverse Childhood Experiences