Emotional medical trauma impacts caregivers of those with injuries and illness

hospital visit

  • Avoidance: Avoiding reminders of medical care such as driving by the hospital, attending appointments, phone calls from medical providers, talking or thinking about anything related to medical condition or care.
  • Re-experiencing: Flashbacks of receiving a diagnosis or injury event or a part of medical care, repeated conversations about the medical condition or care, thoughts repeating over and over again.
  • Hyper-arousal: Difficulty sleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating or feeling “on edge.”
  • Changes in mood/cognition: Increased feelings of sadness, frustration, and worries; negative thoughts; and withdrawing or isolating from others.
  • Engage in self-care. Think about what you need and start by just doing one thing for yourself.
  • Recognize your signs of stress and find small ways to take a break, such as a short walk, listening to music, engaging in a 5-minute breathing exercise, or journaling.
  • When coping with fears of the unknown, try to focus on what you can control. It might be helpful to get organized and make a plan, while allowing for flexibility if things don’t go exactly as planned;
  • Rely on your support system and accept help, whether just for an ear to listen or to run a quick errand. Know that you may not be able to do it all during this time, and that’s ok.

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