LEARN It! Challenge 6 of 9
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Physical Changes

Everyone has physical complaints from time to time, but if you’ve have had a traumatic experience, any number of physical symptoms may cause concern.

The body and the mind are always working together. Things that happen to your body affect how you think and vice versa.

This lesson will detail some of the physical symptoms that can result from or be made worse after a trauma.

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


Adolescent’s eating habits can vary substantially from day to day. However, have you noticed they they just don’t feel like eating? Or do they find that eating helps them feel better emotionally for a while?

There are solid reasons why someone’s appetite may be affected after a trauma. If their appetite remains a problem for more than a few days, it maybe time to get help.

Staying Focused & Concentration

Are they frequently daydreaming in classes they enjoy or getting distracted while doing homework?

Sometimes after a trauma, our minds become so preoccupied that it is very difficult to stay focused or concentrate. It does not take long for school grades to drop. 

Nervousness & Breathing 

Do they look more nervous than usual, especially at times which don’t make sense?  Have there been times when they momentarily have trouble breathing, or does it look like they have shortness of breath even when not doing something strenuous?

Some people say they feel shaky inside when they get nervous. When someone feeling nervous or anxious, you may actually see their hands shaking. Poor breathing, usually called shallow breathing, is common among people who are stressed from a traumatic event. Shallow breathing can easily be recognized in someone. If it lasts too long it can result in headaches, dizziness, or even fainting. 

Here’s where the mind/body connection really comes into play. When negative thoughts, for example remembering things which happened during a trauma, run through our minds, our bodies will often feel nervous. The body may then react by shaking or irregular breathing patterns.

Any physical symptoms should be checked by a doctor before trying to figure out if the symptom comes from stress alone!

Pictured above is a piece of artwork designed to help you or those around you dealing with physical trauma. Below is the same content with a different image that may be more engaging to a different student or teacher.