Advice for those previously exposed to traumatising events

It is common to be reminded of previous trauma and loss when events and situations are perceived as unsafe or reminiscent of past experiences.

Common reactions after traumatic events

  • Insecurity and anxiety
  • Reliving the trauma (flashbacks)
  • Memories and images from past traumatic events
  • Sleeping difficulties and/or nightmares
  • Physical ailments
  • Feeling helpless
  • Worrying that something will happen to your loved ones
  • Depression and withdrawal
  • Being fixated on watching a lot of TV and reading everything published in the media. What you see might also get muddled up with what you have previously experienced.

Self-help and advice after experiencing a traumatic event

  • Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat normally and take care of your daily routines.
  • Spend time with your loved ones. Talk to the people you trust.
  • Avoid watching too much TV and reading too much in the media.
  • Limit the amount of impressions – for example via social media.
  • Physical activity is important for mental health. Take a walk or exercise, preferably together with someone you enjoy spending time with.

There are self-help tools available that may be useful if you struggle with for example sleep. See the SMART app - RVTS Øst (rvtsost.no, in Norwegian).

Seek help

If your experience has a major impact on your everyday life, please seek medical help. See your GP if you experience persistent sleeping difficulties, physical pain or if you spend a lot of time thinking about painful life events. Your GP can give you a referral to a specialist if you require additional help.  

Do you need someone to talk to?

There are several helplines, chat services and support groups where you can share your thoughts and feelings anonymously, and get support, advice and guidance.

For children and young people:

Here you will find several helplines, chat services and support groups that can help when you are struggling (ung.no).

​​​​​​​Source: Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

The Norwegian Directorate of Health. Advice for those previously exposed to traumatising events. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Friday, May 31, 2024 [retrieved Thursday, June 20, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/psykisk-helse/traumatising-events/

Last updated Friday, May 31, 2024