LEARN It! Challenge 2 of 9
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Emotional Changes

Have you noticed someone in your community acting more emotional recently? 

This could mean that they seem to over-react or under-react to everyday situations and events. They may snap-out frequently, cry easily or be sad for long periods of time.

   Learn some of the more common emotional  reactions to trauma below:

Anger & Impatience

Does it seem as if almost every little thing makes them lash-out or feel annoyed or feel angry? Does it seem as if their emotions and nerves are frazzled? Being impatient does not mean that they get angry easily, but the two emotions usually go hand in hand.

There are lots of reasons that make people especially angry: restrictions, school pressure, insincere friends, etc. It is helpful to recognize whether someone is getting angry at more things and maybe more quickly than before.

Trauma can influence the way a person views the world and their relationship with others. It can cause temporary internal changes which lower frustration tolerance (how long it takes someone to get angry) and increases impulsive responding (how quickly they react without thinking). Impatience increases the likelihood that they will say something, say nothing, or burn inside.

Sadness & Guilt

Do they feel sad most of the time? Is it difficult to enjoy the things they have enjoyed in the past? Are family, friends or teachers asking them if they are OK? Especially if a few months have passed since the trauma, do they still cry or feel like crying whenever they think about what’s making them sad? Do they feel guilty in some way about something that happened to them or to others close to them? Feeling guilty can be intense and troubling.

Sadness is one emotion you can see by looking in the mirror, or you can see it on the faces of family or friends. Although someone can be sad without being depressed, sadness almost always goes along with depression. Most often people know why they are sad but may find it hard to tell someone else why they are sad. 

Keep in mind that people will often say something like, ‘ Why should I tell anybody, they can’t do anything about it anyway.’ Do not let this kind of thinking stop you from helping someone you think might need it!


Do they tell you they have a sense that something might threaten or injure them in some way? If they have experienced something traumatic, do they worry that something else bad may happen to them or those around them? What’s being described here is something they feel, without necessarily knowing why they feel that way. 

One of the many new and amazing things scientists have learned is that, for the same event, feelings will be stored in one part of the brain while information about what happened will be stored in a different part of the brain. It’s not unusual or abnormal for someone to say, “I feel scared, but I don’t know why.”

In the aftermath of an event (something bad happening, that can cause emotional trauma), someone may experience a range of emotions including anger, sadness, impatience, fearfulness and guilt, which are new to them or have become more distressing than they were before.

Additional kinds of reactions and responses to emotional trauma are described in the Behavior, Language, Physical and Cognitive lessons. 

Pictured above is a piece of artwork designed to help you or those around you dealing with emotional trauma