Trauma Responses: Fight Response

The typical refrain of “fight or flight” is one that most people have heard many times, even if not directly about trauma responses. You might also have heard about other common ways to respond to trauma and dangerous situations, such as “freeze” or “fawn”. There are many ways we might react when we feel unsafe, and “fight” is one of the most common reactions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will physically fight someone, but your body and mind may react in a way that feels like you are preparing to fight back.

But what does a fight response look and feel like, and how can you control it healthily?

What are Trauma Responses? 

Trauma responses occur when you perceive yourself (whether consciously or unconsciously) to be in a dangerous situation. This can trigger certain thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations. Trauma responses may consist of many different things, from anxiety to anger, sweating, dissociation, and more.

There are four main types of trauma responses and they are as follows:

  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Freeze 
  • Fawn

Here we are going to take a closer look at the fight trauma response and what it all entails. 

What Is the Fight Response? How Can It Help or Hurt?

The fight response is one of the most commonly known ways to respond to danger or trauma. It begins with your body and mind responding to stress, and then a response aiming to fight back. This could mean physically fighting back against a perceived threat, but it could also be responding to stressful situations with anger or aggression. Physically, you might feel that your heart rate increases, your breathing speeds up, you become tense, or your skin flushes, among other things.

The fight response isn’t necessarily consistently negative. Sometimes we can use it to defend ourselves physically or by standing up for ourselves verbally. However, the fight response can be unhealthy too. If a raised level of anxiety and anger is something you frequently experience, particularly if it’s affecting your life day-to-day, it can be very stressful to deal with. You might feel like you’re constantly on alert, angry all the time, or struggling to control your emotions. You could find yourself getting in trouble or struggling to maintain relationships due to lashing out at others.

Techniques for Getting Out of Fight Mode

When dealing with trauma, you can find yourself experiencing “fight” mode more often than is healthy. Even the smallest things could make you feel it, perhaps without really understanding why. Fortunately, there are techniques you can use to deal with this and get yourself out of fight mode.

  • Remove yourself from the stressful situation and seek a safe place
  • Take deep breaths and slow your breathing to help ease anxiety
  • Use physical movement, such as walking around, to release tension
  • Get support from others, such as family and friends

Get Help from Peak Recovery Today

It can take up to an hour for your body to come down from a stress-related response. Keep this in mind the next time you recognize that you are in flight mode or you are feeling overwhelmed and agitated. Give the above coping mechanisms a try to see if they work for you. However, remind yourself that there is always professional help out there if you need it.

Contact Peaks Recovery today to learn more about our wide variety of mental health and trauma response programs that can help you heal and get you on the road to recovery. You aren’t alone and there is an opportunity for you to lead a healthier, less stressed-out, and more fulfilling life where you feel safe and protected. 

Medical Disclaimer: Peaks Recovery Centers uses fact-based content about recovery treatment, addiction medicine, and behavioral health conditions to improve the quality of life for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health disorders. This information is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, care, or treatment. This information should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare provider and/or your physician.