Critical Incident Stress
Information Sheet

by Los Angeles County Department Of Mental Health

You have experienced a traumatic event. Even though the event may be over, you may now be experiencing or may experience later some strong emotional or physical reactions. It is very common, in fact quite normal. for people to experience emotional aftershocks when they have passed through a horrible event.

Sometimes the emotional aftershocks(or stress reactions) appear immediately after the traumatic event. Sometimes they may appear a few hours or a few days later. And, in some cases, weeks or months may pass before the stress reactions appear.

The signs and symptoms of a stress reaction may last a few days, a few weeks or a few months and occasionally longer depending on the severity of the traumatic event. With the understanding and the support of loved ones, stress reactions usually pas more quickly. Occasionally, the traumatic event is so painful that professional assistance from a counselor may be necessary. This does not imply craziness or weakness. It simply indicates that the particular trauma was just too powerful to manage without help.

Here are some very common signs and signals of a stress reaction:

Physical Signs

Cognitive Signs

Emotional Signs

Behavioral Signs

* Definite indication of the need for medical evaluation!

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
1 (800) 854 7771