Experiencing a severe trauma or being exposed prolonged or repeatedly to traumatic events can affect the way of thinking and feeling about oneself, others and the “world”. It can also affect the mood. For example, many adolescents think that they can`t trust anybody anymore. Consequently, they stop participating in their hobbies and withdraw from their family and friends.


Inability to remember certain aspects of what happened

  • It’s common to be unable to remember all or only parts of what happened.
  • By erasing memories of what happened, the brain tries to protect itself from the stress generated by bad memories of the traumatic events.
  • It often doesn’t bother adolescents if they can’t fully remember what happened to them. If you have gaps in your memory and you’re troubled by this, try sharing your memories with your family or friends and actively look for information that could fill your memory gaps (e.g. medical reports, police reports, etc.)


Negative beliefs about oneself, others or the world

  • It’s common to develop negative thinking patterns, which play a major role in causing and maintaining various issues after experiencing traumatic events (e.g. avoidance behavior, flashbacks, or intrusions).
  • These thinking patterns (also called negative core beliefs) include assumptions about the self (e.g. “I’m a failure/incompetent.”), others (e.g. “I can’t trust others.”) and the world (e.g. “The world is extremely dangerous.”).
  • Often these unhelpful thinking patterns are self-sustaining in that you are looking for information in specific situations (and disregard inconsistent information) which support your beliefs.
  • Checking these beliefs can help. Ask yourself what other possibilities are there to think about certain things? What would a friend of yours think in the same situation? What could you advise a friend? Does it help to think like this?


Distorted blaming of oneself or others

  • It’s normal to have the tendency to blame yourself for what happened to you.
  • Holding other people responsible for what happened to you such as your mother or your father (believing they didn’t protect you), without recognizing that the blame is inaccurate, is common.


Persistent negative emotional state

  • Having persistent negative strong emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, sadness, and hopelessness is common after traumatic events.
  • Talk actively to your friends and family about these feelings and try to put them into perspective, if possible.


Diminished interest in activities

  • After traumatic events, it’s common to no longer want to participate in activities you previously enjoyed.
  • Try to take up a hobby (again) and to meet up with friends. Studies show that social support can be of big help to deal with problems in the aftermath of traumatic events.


 Detachment from others

  • Feeling distant from others and social withdrawal are common reactions after traumatic events.
  • Try to take up a hobby (again) and to meet up with friends. Studies show that social support can be of big help to deal with problems in the aftermath of traumatic events.


Restricted affect

  • Having difficulty to experience positive feelings, such as happiness or love is common after traumatic events.
  • If you notice that it is not getting better or you’re very stressed about it, talk to your friends and family about it and inquire about therapy options.