Trauma Response QuizCamila Archuleta
Understanding Responses to Trauma and Treatment Options
Icarus Behavioral Health is a trusted partner in navigating the complex mental health and recovery journey. We understand that life can sometimes feel jarring.
Imagine taking a peaceful nap. Your sweet slumber is soon interrupted abruptly by a lightning bolt and a thunder crack. Trauma, like that unexpected storm, can happen to anyone at any time.
So you awaken from that storm. Some of us might be startled, shake it off, and fall back asleep, secure in the safety of our beds. Others, however, might feel upset, sweaty, or sense the worst is about to happen.
These reactions are not normal or abnormal; they are merely responses to trauma. If you grapple with a feeling of impending doom at every trial in life, you may be grappling with your trauma response.
Take our trauma response quiz today to learn more about your reactions to trauma, and how to find effective treatment options with Icarus today!
What is Trauma Response?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes trauma response as a set of physical and emotional reactions when a person experiences trauma. These reactions can include negative emotions like fear, helplessness, or horror, manifest in various ways, such as nightmares, flashbacks, or avoidance of memories.
Trauma response is deeply connected to our body’s instinctual “fight or flight” response, a survival mechanism that prepares us to confront or flee perceived danger.
In addition to the “fight or flight” response, there’s another – the “fawn” response. This behavior is exhibited when you respond to a threat by trying to please or appease the source of danger.
It’s a survival strategy often seen in situations where fighting or fleeing isn’t possible or might lead to more harm. The person might try to make themselves less threatening or beneficial to the potential aggressor in hopes of avoiding harm.
This response can be widespread in situations of chronic or repeated trauma, such as in the formation of Complex PTSD (CPTSD).
Why People Process Trauma Differently
Just as each person is unique, so are our responses to trauma. Genetics, environment, personal history, and events influence how we process trauma. Some people may be more resilient, while others may have a difficult time recovering.
6 Signs You May Struggle With Trauma
Recognizing the signs of trauma is the first step toward seeking help and healing. Struggling with trauma can manifest in various ways, including these:
- Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, often distressing thoughts that may repeatedly enter your mind. These thoughts can relate to the traumatic event and cause significant anxiety.
- The negative thoughts can be persistent and hard to manage, disrupting your daily life and well-being.
- Emotional distress following a traumatic event is frequent. You may experience fear, sadness, anger, guilt, or shame. These emotions may be intense and fluctuating, making it difficult to control them. You might also feel numb or disconnected from your emotions.
- Trauma can also manifest physically. You may experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, or other physical discomforts. The impact of those memories can occur even when there is no apparent physical cause.
- Changes in behavior are another sign of trauma. You might notice that you are more irritable or have difficulty sleeping. You might also avoid places or activities reminding you of the traumatic event. Some also engage in reckless behavior.
- Trauma can affect your ability to maintain relationships and carry out daily tasks. You might discover challenges trusting others, feel disconnected from loved ones, or experience isolation. You may also have difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or completing tasks.
If you identify with these, seeking professional help is vital.
What Are Some Frequent Traumatic Events?
Traumatic experiences can vary in nature and scale. They can be deeply personal experiences or large-scale events that impact entire communities or nations. Here are some examples of things that can impact your trauma response:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Serious car accident
- Severe illness or injury
- Witnessing violence or death
- Surviving a life-threatening situation
- Military combat
- Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, floods)
- Large-scale human-made disasters (e.g., terrorist attacks, wars)
- Sudden loss of a loved one or family member
- Bullying or harassment
- Childhood trauma, neglect, or abuse
Remember, trauma is not about the event but your response to it. If you have experienced these events and are struggling with your response, seeking help is essential.
At Icarus Behavioral Health, we can help improve your coping skills. We’ll assess your needs, help you learn how to respond to your triggers and cope with the past.
Most people who spend time with us find our evidence-based therapies incredibly helpful.
The Connection Between Trauma and Mental Health
Trauma can damage mental health, leading to many conditions. Below we list a few possible outcomes of unresolved trauma:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition developing after a person survives a harrowing occurrence. Most people think of combat veterans when they hear the word PTSD. But it can also be present in someone with childhood abuse, a car accident survivor, the death of someone close, or other factors. PTSD triggers can cause flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.
- Anxiety disorders can be a result of trauma. Symptoms present include excessive worry, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.
- Trauma can lead to substance abuse as self-medication. Drugs and alcohol may calm the memories. But they may escalate into addiction.
- Depression is a common outcome of trauma. Symptoms include struggling with persistent sadness, loss of interest in – hopelessness about – life.
- Some personality disorders, particularly borderline personality disorder, can stem from trauma. Symptoms can include unstable relationships, impulsive behavior, and intense emotional reactions.
Icarus Behavioral Health | Trauma Response Quiz
This Trauma Response Quiz can help you understand your reactions to trauma.
Remember, our Trauma Quiz is not a diagnostic tool. Instead, the quiz is a starting point to understand your experiences better.
If you answer ‘Yes’ to several questions in this short quiz, please seek professional help.
- Do you frequently experience unwanted, distressing thoughts about a past trauma?
- Do you often feel fearful, sad, angry, guilty, or ashamed without any reason?
- Do you have physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, or fatigue that don’t seem to have a clear physical cause?
- Have you noticed significant changes in your behavior, like irritability, sleep problems, or avoidance of certain places or activities?
- Do you engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse to cope with your feelings?
- Are you often struggling with maintaining relationships, trusting others, or feeling connected to loved ones?
- Do you struggle to concentrate, make decisions, or complete tasks at work or school?
- Do you often feel disconnected from your emotions or feel numb?
- Do you have nightmares or flashbacks related to the traumatic experience?
- Do you avoid things that remind you of your past trauma?
Did you answer yes to several of these quiz questions? The Icarus Behavioral Health team can provide the therapies to help you heal.
How Professionals May Treat Trauma
Treatment options can involve therapy, medication, and self-care strategies. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), exposure therapy, and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy are some therapeutic approaches used.
Are You Ready for Help?
If you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions, know that help is available. At Icarus Behavioral Health, we’re ready to walk with you on your journey toward healing.
Don’t let the storm of trauma keep you awake. Reach out to us today.
Let’s weather the storm together!