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On the following pages you’ll find information about normal human responses to distress caused by suffering that you have experienced yourself or that you have witnessed. Sometimes the body and the mind only react to this stress for a short time. Then the sorrow, pain, fear or problems sleeping disappear on their own. But sometimes the reactions persist for a very long time. They become a new problem in their own right. Then they hinder the body’s ability to heal itself. And get in the way of interacting with other people and taking an active part in life. People who are affected notice that they aren’t as active or can’t do as much as they used to in their role as father or mother, daughter or son, girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife or community member.

Below, we show some of the most frequent reactions that people have as a result of distressing experiences.

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