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During our lives it is possible that we may experience some sort of traumatic event. In these instances it can be difficult to predict how we might react during the event and afterwards. Each of us has a unique perspective on the world which will result in a unique response; however, one common characteristic that we all share is that having a stress reaction to a trauma is NORMAL.

Normal reactions to traumatic events can include:

  • Frequent, recurrent thoughts about the event
  • Difficulty sleeping, including having nightmares
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increased anxiety when in situations similar to the trauma
  • Increased sensitivity or alertness
  • Worrying about death or the safety of others
  • Feelings of depression, including sadness, lethargy, or spontaneous crying spells
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea
  • Decreased ability to concentrate in classes or other regular activities
  • Increased irritability or anger
  • Feeling “numb” or detached from others
  • Preoccupation with asking “What if?” questions
  • Denial about the event and its impact on you

In many cases, the reactions to trauma may be temporary and diminish on their own, as we distance ourselves from the event and attempt to continue to live our lives. However, sometimes these reactions may persist and significantly interfere with your ability to function. In those cases, we encourage you to contact the Drexel University Counseling Center at (215) 895-1415 or e-mail us at to schedule an appointment or consult with a professional.

If you have recently experienced a traumatic event and need support for managing the physical, legal, or financial concerns that may arise, you may also wish to contact Victim Support and Intervention Services at Drexel, a service designed to provide you with the help and information you need. The Victim Support and Intervention Services office is located in 201 Creese Student Center, and their phone number is (215) 895-0353.

The content provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, nor should it replace the consultation of a trained medical or mental health professional. Please note that outside links are not under our control, and we cannot guarantee the content contained on them.