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A traumatic event is a very upsetting event that you see or that happens to you or a loved one. It may threaten someone's life or cause serious injury. It can be a one-time event, like a sexual assault or a car crash. Or it may be ongoing, such as abuse or severe illness.
Everyone responds to traumatic events in different ways. But it's common to have some type of reaction. You may react right away or days, weeks, or months later.
After a traumatic event you may:
It can take months or years to heal from a traumatic event. But most people get better with time. If you need help to get better, contact your doctor or counselor.
If you are feeling hopeless or like you might harm yourself, get help right away.
Where to get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
If you or someone you know talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away. You can:
Consider saving these numbers in your phone.
There are a few things you can do after a traumatic event to help care for yourself. Some people may feel that these are hard to do at first. But over time these tips can help.
You can ask your doctor for a referral. Or you might contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). You can text 741741 for 24/7 free support from a trained counselor. You can also call the NAMI HelpLine (1-800-950-6264) or go online (www.nami.org/help) to chat with a trained volunteer.
Make plans to spend time with friends or family members. You might also try a support group.
For example, eat a variety of foods, including grains, proteins, vegetables and fruit, and dairy. And follow a regular sleep schedule.
Walking may be a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, dancing, or playing team sports.
You might listen to soothing music or take a hot bath. Some people find yoga, meditation, or walks in nature calming.
They can help take your mind off things. For instance, you could help a friend, or you could volunteer in your community.
Sometimes people blame themselves for what happened, even though it wasn't their fault. If you are struggling with guilt about the event, ask your counselor for help.
Current as of:
February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral HealthLesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
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