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Counseling & Psychological Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173180
Bozeman, MT 59717-3180

Tel: (406) 994-4531
Fax: (406) 994-2485
Location: 211 Swingle
> Counseling & Psychological Services
Counseling Services

Common Reactions to Grief, Loss, or Traumatic Events

Everyone reacts differently to loss or trauma. Below are some common experiences:

Emotional: Cognitive:
Sadness Difficulty concentrating
Shock/numbness Preoccupation with event
Nervousness Recurring images of event
Vulnerability Asking "why"
Anger Questions about life/death
Irritability Thinking things will never be normal
Helpless Dreams/nightmares
Guilt Memories of past loss/trauma
Denial Wishing you could take things back or "trade" something to change things
Regret Re-experiencing the event
Detachment "surreal" Difficulty remembering some aspects

Behavioral: Physical:
Need to talk Trouble sleeping/sleeping too much
Wish to be with others Loss of appetite
Desire to be alone Fatigue
Avoidance the topic/feelings Nausea
Low motivation Headaches
Loss of interest in usual activities

Experiencing many of the above reactions at varying times is normal, especially in the days following.

Here are some coping strategies that can help:

* Allow yourself to experience your feelings-don’t ignore or stuff them

* Take the time you need to take care of yourself-you don’t have to “go back to normal” too soon

* Talk about it with others

* Avoid alcohol, drugs, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms

* Get plenty of sleep and rest

* Eat healthy

* When you feel ready try to get back into your normal routine

* Do what you feel is best for you


You may wish to talk to a professional if:

* You need someone to talk to

* Your reactions are so intense or distressing you find it difficult to function

* Your feelings or experiences of grief continue to be intense after several weeks or months

* You have anxiety or depression

* You’re experiencing reactions from past trauma or loss


Resources on Campus:

For Counseling or Consultation:

Counseling & Psychological Services

211 Swingle Hall



For Academic Support/Leave

Dean of Students Office

120 SUB



Your Academic Advisor or Department Head


Information Provided by:

Counseling & Psychological Services

211 Swingle Hall


Offering free & confidential counseling services

M-F: 8-11:45am &



View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 12/17/08
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