Well Being

Coping with a Traumatic Event: Caring for Your Emotional and Physical Self

In light of recent tragic incidents in downtown Cincinnati, many of us are left feeling distressed and confused. Patty Banks LPCC-S, supervisor and counselor for TriHealth EAP, explains how traumatic events can impact people emotionally and physically and offers suggestions for how to cope with the after-effects. 

“People who are affected, either directly or indirectly, by a traumatic incident often experience a range of emotions such as anxiety, depression, sadness and anger,” Patty shares. “They also might be left feeling unsafe or vulnerable.” 

She adds that these emotions can result in physical symptoms that might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite
  • Muscle tension

All of these feelings also can create behavioral responses, such as:

  • Crying
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Fear of being alone
  • Agitation
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Increased use of alcohol or medication

Patty reassures that these reactions are entirely normal but does recommend things you can do to help yourself through this difficult time:

  • Take care of yourself physically: exercise regularly, eat right, get extra rest and minimize your alcohol or medication use.
  • Share with others:  Talk with friends, family and co-workers about how you are feeling.
  • Be good to yourself: Try to cut back on demands of work and family. If possible, put off major tasks and decisions until you feel better.

Sometimes, these self-care methods are not enough. If you find you need more assistance, reach out to your employee assistance program, a physician, counselor or church connection for professional support.

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