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The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

Coping with Trauma

Business Hours:
Monday thru Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm
Appointment-Scheduling hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-4:00pm
Phone: (512) 471-3515 - Student Services Building 5th Floor
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It's very common, in fact quite normal, for people to have strong emotional or physical reactions after a traumatic event. While immediate trauma reactions surface quickly and are readily detectable, long-term reactions surface gradually and may be harder to identify.

Below are some of the common signs and signals of a traumatic reaction. These are normal experiences we all feel, but pay attention when they occur more frequently or are stronger than usual. If they begin to interfere with your academic or personal life, please seek help.

  • Shock or Numbness
  • Anger or Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Confusion
  • Terror
  • Shame
  • Suspiciousness or Paranoia
  • Problems with concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation from social support
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Disruptions in sleep and appetite
  • Flashbacks or Nightmares
  • Startle responses or Hypervigilance
  • Physical Symptoms (e.g., headaches, elevated heart rate, weakness).

Things to try...

  • Seek support from family and friends. Talking with others is healing.
  • Structure your time. Having a predictable routine will help you to improve your functioning.
  • Be sure to eat well-balanced meals and stay hydrated (even if you don’t feel like it!).
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and excessive caffeine. Although using substances may seem to be helpful, this can often cause more unpredictable emotional responses.
  • Sleep and get plenty of rest. This may be difficult, but rest is important.
  • Give yourself permission to feel different. You may lose motivation, be unable to study, or lay around doing nothing.
  • Alternate exercise with relaxation will alleviate some of the stress.
  • You may have reoccurring thoughts, dreams, or flashbacks—they are normal and will decrease over time.
  • Realize that those around you are under stress and may react differently. Try not to take things personally.
  • Manage your information intake. Sometimes having more information can increase stress; if applicable, you might consider monitoring whether your news and social media exposure has a positive or negative impact on you

To talk to someone at CMHC about options...

Available all day, every day...

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