Types of Trauma Responses

When you experience trauma in life you’re likely to also have trauma responses. Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing event that occurs and may cause an individual to not have the ability or tools they need to cope appropriately.

Trauma can cause a long list of emotions and reactions that may trigger a sense of confusion and hopelessness. There are some common reactions or trauma responses you should know about so you can identify them should you ever need to now, or in the future.  

What Is A Trauma Response?

After a traumatic event occurs you’re likely to have a trauma response. There may be long-term reactions that take place such as physical symptoms like headaches or unpredictable emotions and flashbacks. It might not only take a toll on you mentally and physically but also on your relationship. These reactions and feelings are all normal but may cause you to have trouble moving on with your life. How someone reacts to trauma or the trauma responses that may occur depends on many factors such as the severity of the event, other stressors, and the amount of support available.

The Different Trauma Responses

There are different types and some common reactions to trauma to note and dive a bit deeper into such as the following list of trauma responses. There are four, in particular, that you should know and learn more about as it relates to this matter.


The fight response is one of the types of trauma responses that when used in a healthy manner can help set boundaries and ignite assertion. However, as it relates to a trauma response then it may come off as reacting with anger and aggression. It comes from a state of fear and an urge to get back control. It may be displayed as physical fights or crying and clenching your teeth.


The flight response is another type of trauma response to uncover in greater detail. It involves avoidant behavior and may cause you to isolate yourself. It may look as if you’re running away or avoiding others and situations.  


You might also experience the freeze response to trauma. When you’re in a healthy state it can help you assess a situation carefully and step back so you can respond appropriately. However, when it comes to being a trauma response, it relates to dissociation and immobilizing behaviors. You may literally freeze and soon feel detached from reality. It’s your way of trying to prevent further stress and anxiety.


Finally, there’s the fawn response to a traumatic event or instance. You may begin to engage in pacifying behaviors or try to please others. You’re acting to diffuse any potential conflict and also trying to receive approval. It’s all about putting others above your needs and all else. You may not feel seen by others eventually or get to a point where you abandon yourself and your needs entirely. The first step in not engaging with fawning is to be more aware and to start putting up boundaries to take up space.

The reality is that you may experience one or more of these types of trauma responses. It’s all about what state you’re in and how you are triggered at the time.  

How These Happen or Occur

You’ll eventually move past the initial shock of the traumatic event into your response mode. There are common responses that will happen or occur such as repeated memories, nightmares, intense fear, mood shifts, and maybe isolation. You’re going to want to try to make sense of the traumatic event which may cause you to respond with mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral reactions.

You may soon find yourself trying to make sense of all that unfolded and wondering why and how it happened and why you feel the way you do. It’s all about recognizing what you’ve been through, accepting what occurred and taking care of yourself, and getting the help you need to recover. While trauma responses are normal and are likely to occur, you may want to seek professional help if they become chronic and ongoing.


There’s a lot that you can do to cope and recover from trauma and better deal with your reactions and responses. You should always consider seeking professional help if you don’t feel better or normal within three to four weeks after the incident. Avoid bottling up your feelings and get them out in the open so others can help you. You must learn relaxation techniques and express your feelings as they arise. Learning to respond to stress and trauma in a healthy way can help you in several areas of your life, including family, work, and relationships.

Reach Out to Peaks Recovery Today

If you (or someone you know) are suffering from a mental health disorder such as trauma, then get help from Peaks Recovery. We offer both inpatient and outpatient services designed to let you restore your life to normality and build the future that you deserve. 

Don’t wait. Get in touch with us today.