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5 Common Trauma Responses in Adults

A woman and a therapist discuss trauma responses

For many people in rehab, a trauma therapy program perfectly complements a primary substance treatment plan. That’s true because many adults in recovery are affected by the lasting impact of a past traumatic event. How do you know if this is true for your loved one in need of drug or alcohol treatment? Adults tend to respond to trauma exposure in certain ways. If you’re aware of these responses, you may be able to spot their effects in another person. To learn more about a trauma therapy program, call us today at 888.231.1281.

Types of Trauma Responses – Short-Term Vs. Delayed Effects

The vast majority of people exposed to serious trauma undergo some predictable short-term reactions. These reactions are actually the first steps in processing traumatic experiences. They include such things as:

  • Extreme fear
  • Helplessness
  • Numbness
  • Anger
  • Denial of what has occurred
  • Spikes in your blood pressure and heart rate
  • Heightened startle responses
  • Trembling muscles
  • An upset stomach
  • Intense fatigue
  • An inability to remember things or think clearly
  • Difficulty sleeping

You may also experience delayed or long-term responses to trauma. These responses can include such things as nightmares and unwanted memories of what happened. Additional examples of delayed trauma reactions include depression, guilt, and loss of your sense of purpose. A wide variety of other reactions may also occur.

PTSD – A Long-Term Stress Response to Trauma

In addition, you may experience a long-term stress response to trauma. The classic form of that kind of response is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition is marked by:

  • Lingering trauma symptoms that fall into four separate categories
  • The presence of these symptoms at least 30 days after trauma exposure
  • Significant life dysfunction caused by your long-term trauma reaction

In any given year, millions of American adults meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis.

The Importance of Lingering Childhood Trauma Responses in Adults

Some people only experience traumatic events after reaching adulthood. However, many others experienced such an event as children. Childhood traumas may no longer affect you as an adult. But research shows that lingering childhood trauma responses in adults are quite common. Just like responses you only develop during adulthood, these childhood responses can have a serious negative impact.

For many adults, that impact includes increased risks for substance problems. In rehab, lingering trauma can potentially interfere with your recovery. That’s why trauma therapy is so valuable. With its help, you can overcome the effects of unresolved childhood trauma. As a result, you may increase your chances of success in your rehab program.

The Most Common Trauma Response Behaviors in Adults

Trauma response behaviors vary widely among adults. That’s true because any two people who go through a traumatic event may react differently. Still, some trauma responses are more common than others. The list of the most likely responses includes:

  1. Trying to avoid reminders of a traumatic event
  2. Avoiding talking about a traumatic experience
  3. Withdrawing from social contact
  4. Being unusually hypersensitive or jumpy
  5. Using alcohol or drugs as a form of self-medication

If you notice these kinds of responses in someone, they may have PTSD. Even if PTSD is not present, they may need trauma therapy during rehab.

Learn More About Common Adult Trauma Responses at Northpoint Colorado

Have more questions about the ways adults react to traumatic events? Talk to the professionals at Northpoint Colorado. With our help, you can gain a more detailed understanding of potential adult responses.

At Northpoint, we offer a wide range of secondary support options for adults in substance recovery. Those options include comprehensive trauma therapy services. You can add these services to any of our customized treatment plans. For more information, just call us today at 888.231.1281 or fill out our short online message form.