Much of the time our lives seem safe and predictable.
Serious road-traffic collisions, plane crashes, train accidents, natural disasters, criminal assaults, terrorist attacks, and other sorts of traumatic events seem to happen to other people, not us. We may read about them in the papers, or watch them on TV, but we do not expect to experience them directly ourselves.
But for those of us who have gone through trauma, we know that any of us, at any time, can be the victims of sudden and unexpected tragedies or losses.
Most people will experience various psychological reactions in the days following a traumatic event. Common psychological responses include the following.
These are normal and natural reactions in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event. Most people will recover in the days and weeks following a traumatic event, particularly if it has not affected them directly through personal loss or injury.
For others, however, who are directly affected by trauma, these reactions may persist or even worsen as the weeks pass. Their ability to get on with their lives is severely impaired.
If you or someone you know are still experiencing several of the reactions listed above several weeks after a traumatic event it may be advisable to seek professional advice.
Find out more about post-traumatic stress and its treatment in our new book: