The Trauma Response and Suicide


****Set off Warning****

This text talks about suicide and suicidal ideation, which is probably not appropriate for all folks. Reader warning is suggested.

The trauma response causes folks to not assume however to react emotionally and might be the catalyst for a lot of psychological well being issues. One of the extreme penalties of trauma is suicidal ideation and tried or accomplished suicide.

This text is a part of a four-part collection about suicide and its hyperlink to trauma.

What’s the Trauma Response?

 A trauma response is how an individual responds to distressing conditions. Most individuals have skilled trauma of some type of their lives. Nevertheless, the kind of trauma that may result in suicide includes critical life-threatening occasions and causes the individual experiencing it to really feel helpless to regulate.

There are 4 major trauma responses, together with struggle, flight, freeze, and fawn, also called the 4 F’s of trauma. These trauma responses are realized due to threatening or abusive conditions you survived in childhood or after a big occasion. Sadly, except an individual works on these points and places them to relaxation, the 4 F’s of trauma could turn into the default response later in life as mentioned individual faces different conditions which are perceived as threatening.

Understanding your trauma responses and which one you default to most frequently can assist you in understanding behaviors which have bewildered you. Going through your trauma response head-on, you possibly can be taught to decide on a wholesome response that works finest in the intervening time as an alternative of defaulting to behaviors you’ve gotten realized from destructive experiences prior to now.

A Nearer Have a look at the 4 F’s of Trauma Response

To make clear the 4 F’s of trauma response, let’s look at them additional.

The Combat Response. This trauma response is self-preservation and doesn’t care who it hurts. A wholesome struggle response is sweet as a result of it means that you can reply to hazard. Nevertheless, if it’s a trauma response, you could possibly presumably alienate folks and even hurt another person who doesn’t perceive your response. An unhealthy struggle trauma response can caus

  • You exhibit controlling behaviors
  • Bully different folks
  • Offer you a false feeling of entitlement
  • Push you in the direction of narcissistic tendencies
  • Trigger you to exhibit a conduct dysfunction

One unhealthy struggle response is to show it inward and really feel extremely indignant at your self for no obvious motive.

The Flight Response. If the state of affairs you’re going through is or appears unimaginable to beat in a struggle, you may expertise the flight response as an alternative. Wholesome flight responses assist you to escape imminent hazard. Nevertheless, if unhealthy, the flight response can result in many reactions meant that will help you run from perceived hazard, together with:

  • Obsessive conduct
  • Panic
  • Fixed concern
  • Perfectionism
  • An lack of ability to stay nonetheless

More often than not, the flight response is triggered by a state of affairs that reminds you of one thing that occurred way back and isn’t occurring within the current.

The Freeze Response. This response causes you to pause as an alternative of combating or operating when endangered. A wholesome freeze response permits an individual to remember, current within the second, and be conscious. Nevertheless, if the freeze response is unhealthy, it might result in:

  • Isolation
  • Dissociation
  • Perceived laziness
  • Mind fog
  • Zoning out

Typically, folks get trapped within the freeze response as a result of they concern they’re endangered with no escape in sight. As an alternative of shutting down, you should learn to take care of perceived hazard by way of grounding methods.

The Fawn Response. The fawn response is the least recognized of the trauma responses and is said to pleasing folks. People who find themselves round unhealthy others be taught to try to appease unhealthy folks to neutralize the menace. Those that fawn turn into attuned to the wants and feelings of these round them. Whereas this response on the floor appears helpful as a result of those that fawn can higher empathize deeply with others, it can be extremely detrimental. In case you are responding as a result of a state of affairs from the previous, chances are you’ll not see that you’re responding in an unhealthy method that isn’t sustainable.

Suicide and Suicidal Ideations as Trauma Responses

Trauma responses are sometimes exhausting to handle and make you are feeling uncontrolled. Due to the extreme emotional element, you’ll search speedy options to finish your ache; typically, chances are you’ll flip to suicidal ideation.

Suicide seems like a fantastic resolution to the ache attributable to trauma, however as they are saying, it’s a everlasting resolution to a brief downside. I do know from first-hand expertise that suicidal ideation can shortly flip to suicidal behaviors.

Suicidal ideation takes two types: energetic and passive.

Passive suicide includes not having a plan or intent to die however desperately wanting your life to finish. Lively suicide is whenever you need your life to finish and have an intent and plan to hold it by way of.

With both sort of suicide, forming a security plan usually helps redirect your ache and buys you time to get the show you how to want. Typically, you should admit your self into the hospital for remark and security. By no means be afraid to go to your native hospital for assist. It’ll save your life.

The Wellness Restoration Motion Plan  

To stop suicide, many individuals make the most of the  Wellness Restoration Motion Plan (WRAP). WRAP is a robust instrument you need to use to create the wellness that you simply crave. With WRAP, you’ll uncover sensible instruments and develop a day by day plan that will help you keep going ahead along with your wellness targets.

WRAP was developed by Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D., in 1997 to deal with a bunch of individuals battling their emotions and behaviors. The plan is efficient since you uncover and write down strategies earlier than the emotional disaster in addition to methods to acknowledge when you’re breaking down and wish skilled assist.

The primary emphasis in WRAP is the wellness toolbox, which consists of methods to maintain your self effectively and that will help you really feel higher. The wellness toolbox contains approaches you need to use to recuperate or preserve your wellness.


  1. Every day Plan. The day by day plan consists of a easy construction that means that you can implement wellness instruments in your on a regular basis life. It contains itemizing issues you are able to do day-after-day to remain effectively on a selected day.


  1. Stressors. Stressors are occasions and conditions that result in uncomfortable feelings and behaviors. These are triggers or pink flags that occur in your life that may disrupt your wellness. Figuring out your stressors and what instruments you’ll use to answer them is important.


  1. Early Warning Indicators. These refined indicators of change point out the necessity to take motion to maintain your self from worsening. These early warning indicators are belongings you may discover about your self that inform you that that you must pay shut consideration and plan what you’ll do whenever you discover them.


  1. When Issues are Breaking Down or Worsening. When issues start to or have damaged down, you may really feel worse regardless of your finest attempt. Whenever you notice you’re breaking down, it’s time to take motion to forestall you from falling right into a disaster. Beforehand, you should have made an inventory of indicators that you’re breaking down and instruments you possibly can put into motion.


  1. A Disaster Plan. If a disaster happens, bear in mind it isn’t your fault. Having a disaster plan aids you in staying in command of the state of affairs regardless of feeling uncontrolled. You have got made superior plans that embody these you will get in touch with that will help you stay secure.


  1. The Submit-Disaster Plan. This a part of the motion plan will show you how to reintegrate your self again into the world after a disaster. The post-crisis plan means that you can establish new instruments and techniques primarily based on what you realized about your self through the disaster you simply skilled.

Whereas there are different strategies to deal with crises that may result in suicidal actions, WRAP is a simple and inexpensive instrument to maintain you secure. This method is evidence-based1 and is supported by analysis2 to make sure it’s extremely efficient.

Some Last Phrases

Irrespective of how low you go into the abyss that’s despair, it doesn’t matter what has occurred to you, suicide is rarely the reply. Sure, resisting the urge to finish your life is difficult due to the ache, however you should acknowledge and act upon what is occurring.

I, too, have been a statistic. I’ve skilled two suicide makes an attempt and perceive what it’s prefer to expertise extreme and repeated trauma. I survived these makes an attempt solely as a result of I used to be fortunate sufficient to have had individuals who acknowledged my downside and received me the assistance I wanted.

As a result of I’ve advanced post-traumatic stress dysfunction, I’ve utilized my WRAP plan a number of occasions. It has helped me as a result of I’ve an inventory of how I look when issues are going effectively and what I seem like when breaking down and heading for hassle.

I do know all too effectively that suicidal ideas and ideations can come seemingly out of the blue, leaving you gasping at how shortly a state of affairs has escalated from experiencing an issue to having a suicidal thought. Bear in mind to please search assist if you end up spiraling down.

Now, it’s simpler to succeed in out for assist than ever earlier than, as you possibly can dial 988 to attach with psychological well being professionals. Veterans can press 988+1 to be linked with a nationwide veterans hotline, or you possibly can textual content 838255.

You’re treasured, and I’m all the time rooting for you, as are many others.

“Combat on your goals, and your goals will struggle for you.” – Paulo Coelho

“I’m a fighter. I’m a survivor, and I’ll get by way of something folks can throw at me.” – John Daly.


1 Petros, R., & Solomon, P. (2021). “How adults with critical psychological sickness be taught and use Wellness Restoration Motion Plan’s restoration framework.” Qualitative Well being Analysis31(4), 631–642.

2 Petros, R., & Solomon, P. (2020). “Analyzing elements related to perceived restoration amongst customers of Wellness Restoration Motion Plan.” Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal43(2), 132–139.






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