Traumatic events are extremely threatening or horrific events that overwhelm a person’s ability to cope. They can be events you experience yourself, or events you witness.
Witnessing a traumatic event might involve watching or hearing someone else experience it, or watching the event on TV. Some people can also be very affected when they learn that a close family member or friend experienced trauma.
It’s important to know that what’s traumatic for one person might not be traumatic for another person.
Experiencing trauma is common. Around 70% of people experience at least one traumatic event during their lifetime, and about 30% experience four or more traumatic events during their lifetime.
It’s normal to be distressed by trauma, and to need time and support to adjust to what you’ve experienced. This includes people who are specially trained, like firefighters and soldiers. Symptoms of PTSD or CPTSD don’t always appear immediately after a trauma.