How Trauma Looks

People are affected by and deal with trauma in different ways. People may go through the same trauma but respond in different ways. Some people may show signs of traumatic stress and others may have few or no signs.
People may respond to trauma in different ways depending on how old they are. Children who go through a traumatic event may wet the bed, become more attached to a parent or person who cares for them, or act out the traumatic event when they play.
Older teens may act rudely, be disrespectful, or make unhealthy choices. Adults might become angry, avoid others, or act out aggressively towards themselves or others.


Some signs that a person may have gone through a traumatic event include:

    • Signs of Depression: They may have a sad or depressed mood, lose interest in favorite activities, feel hopeless, have trouble sleeping or sleep too much, may eat less or a lot more than usual.
    • Signs of anxiety: They may have panic attacks, worry, or feel overwhelmed.
    • Changes in emotions: They may be more angry or irritable.
    • Concentration: They may have a hard time focusing or concentrating or be more forgetful.
    • Health problems: They may feel tired, have headaches or stomach aches, or get colds more easily.

Rate this resource

Thank you for rating this resource!

Download entire resource (pdf)

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.