July 2013

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Health Capsule

Coping With Traumatic Events

Trauma can affect both your body and your mind. A traumatic event might be a personal tragedy, such as being in a car crash or losing a loved one. It could be a public tragedy, such as the Boston Marathon bombing or a natural disaster. Just seeing or hearing about devastating events can feel distressing, even if you aren’t personally involved.

People respond to crises in different ways. It’s common to feel sad, vulnerable or anxious. But if you continue to feel afraid and upset weeks or months later, consider seeking professional help. You may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. These conditions can affect people of any age.

Children are especially sensitive to violent events or disasters. They may feel intensely hurt or frightened and find it difficult to recover. Like adults, kids need emotional support from loved ones. They may also need medical care and counseling.

NIH’s newly updated Web page at www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/coping-with-traumatic-events can help you learn more about how trauma can affect you and what to do when problems persist. The page links to videos and information about PTSD, depression and related conditions. You’ll also find tips for helping children and teens cope with violence and disasters.