Effects of traumatic events on survivors

While we may do our best to prevent them, traumatic events happen around us every day. That’s the sad truth. These situations range from car accidents, industrial accidents, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, fires, and many others. The worst thing about these events is that they don’t come and leave the way they found us; they leave behind devastating consequences. In this article, we’re going to look at the effects of traumatic events on survivors.

Contents of this article:
Psychological Effects Physical Effects
Financial Effects Conclusion

Effects of Traumatic Events on Survivors

1. Psychological Effects

One consequence of getting involved in a traumatic situation is that it affects your mental health negatively. Even if you have experienced an accident that looks like a minor one, it may affect you mentally and give you lots of stress. That’s why after an accident, you should observe how you feel mentally and if possible, see a psychological health expert. It’s vital because if you continue feeling overly stressed, it will affect other aspects of your life, such as your job and relationship.

One example of a psychological effect is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a disorder whereby the survivor re-experiences the terrifying event they went through by having nightmares, flashbacks, and uncontrollable recollections. A person with PTSD will avoid objects, places, and people that remind them of the occurrence, they’ll have a hard time sleeping and concentrating. Also, they may experience other things like increased heart rate and rapid breathing. Other than PTSD, the survivor may also experience anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, personality changes and behavioural changes.

As we mentioned earlier, the psychological effects of traumatic events can affect other parts of your life negatively. Having PTSD means you won’t be able to concentrate on your career. You won’t be productive at work. No matter how small the accident was, you’ll feel better mentally and emotionally by talking to someone. 

2. Physical Effects

Traumatic events not only leave us with psychological wounds, but they also impact us negatively physically. If you have been involved in a minor accident, you may be fortunate to escape with minor injuries. But if you’re unlucky, you may experience life-threatening injuries. What are some of the physical effects of traumatic occurrences? One, if you have been involved in an auto accident, you may get burns. This can happen if you come into contact with parts such as the gas tank or fuel line. Also, the burns may result from an explosion.

The second and most common effect is body cuts. Your body may come into contact with flying debris, pieces of glass, and metal. These can cause cuts on the body. If the accident occurred in an industry which dealt with hazardous chemicals, inhaling these chemicals may cause respiratory issues. And when these chemicals come into contact with the skin, they can cause skin infections. Another common physical effect is soft tissue damage. Especially if the accident caused the body to move awkwardly, ligaments, muscles, and tendons may suffer damage. While they may seem minor, damages to these body parts can bring lots of pain to the survivor.

Effects of traumatic events


Other physical effects are:

Sudden movements can cause fractures in body parts such as ribs, arms, legs, ankles, and other bones. While some fractures may take several days to heal, serious ones can take weeks and sometimes even months.

Spinal injuries – The back and spine are sensitive parts of our bodies. Even a small occurrence can cause pressure to the spine and bring problems. If the accident is severe and has significantly affected the spine, the survivor may, unfortunately, have to deal with paralysis.

When you’re involved in an accident or disaster, your head may slam against various objects such as walls, windows, and other objects. This slamming can cause traumatic brain injuries.

If objects such as sharp pieces of metal or glass pierce through the body, they may cause damage to internal body organs such as intestines, lungs, etc.

No matter how minor the accident was, your first stop should be at a doctor’s office. Injuries may seem small at the moment, but they may turn out to be serious later. A doctor will thoroughly examine your body to determine if you experienced any life-threatening injuries. And if you have any of them, they’ll devise solutions such as medications to solve those problems. Don’t ignore visiting a doctor after going through a traumatic event; that visit may end up saving your life.

3. Financial Effects

Apart from mental and physical effects, survivors of traumatic events are also affected financially. How? One way is through property damage. When someone is involved in a vehicle accident, the car may get damaged. They’ll be forced to spend money repairing it. If something like a hurricane or a fire occurred, the survivors would be forced to spend a lot of money repairing their homes. Even if insurance is responsible for paying for such things, it’s still a financial effect.

The second way a survivor is affected financially is through medical bills. Accidents cause injuries, and the victim needs treatment. The treatment may be in terms of surgeries, drugs, ongoing care, etc. All these things cost money. Thirdly, if a survivor gained a disability from the traumatic experience, they’ll need to adjust their life to that condition. They may need a wheelchair. Also, some areas in their homes such as bathrooms may require adjustments to suit the lives of the disabled survivor. These modifications also cost money. Other than all these ways, the victim may lose their job. That means the salary they were getting won’t be available.


Hopefully, you have now known the effects of traumatic events on survivors. However, you should understand that people are affected differently. While one person may develop PTSD or depression after that occurrence, another person may not. Also, one person may recover from their injuries faster than the other. The key is establishing what you’re going through and looking for a solution to solve it. For instance, if you think the incident affected you mentally and emotionally, it would be wise to see a mental health expert. Similarly, if you think you’ve sustained physical injuries, see a doctor for an in-depth examination. This way, any problems will be solved, and you’ll continue living your life.

By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.