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Anxiety test

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Is this a Trauma Response? Take Our Trauma Response Quiz

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Robert Stevens

While not meant to serve as a replacement for a mental health evaluation, the trauma quiz shown below will demonstrate what trauma response you most commonly use in daily situations.

Remember that no matter your most common response, you can heal and rewire old programming.

Please note: This quiz is not a replacement for treatment from a mental health professional, nor is it a diagnosis of a mental health condition. If you believe you are struggling with a mental illness or are exhibiting symptoms of PTSD, please reach out to a mental health professional to learn more about possible diagnoses and your treatment options. By completing this self-assessment, you acknowledge that you’ve read and agree with this statement and agree to re-origin’s Terms & Conditions.


  1. Read each question carefully and consider how you typically respond in the given situations.
  2. Select the answer (a, b, c, or d) that most accurately describes your typical response.
  3. Tally your answers at the end of the quiz to determine your most common trauma response type.
  4. Review your result and read the corresponding paragraph to understand more about your trauma responses.


  1. When approached with a challenge at work or home, I tend to:some text
    1. Deal with  it head-on (directly)
    2. Distract myself so I don't have to think about it
    3. Feel overwhelmed
    4. Ask for help
  2. If I need to confront someone, I tend to:some text
    1. Go for it
    2. Decide it's not that important and forget about it
    3. Put it off as long as possible
    4. Confront them, but feel uncomfortable and apologize for bringing it up
  3. In an emergency situation, I:some text
    1. Take charge and tell others what to do
    2. Remove myself as quickly as possible
    3. Feel paralyzed and do nothing
    4. Go find a leader
  4. When going to a party where I only know one person, I:some text
    1. Immediately introduce myself to strangers and strike up a conversation
    2. Are you kidding? I would never do that!
    3. Go to the party to  meet some new people, but I wouldn't say much
    4. Stay by my friend's side the whole time
  5. If my feelings get hurt by a loved one, I respond by:some text
    1. Telling them how they made me feel
    2. Putting it behind us — it's not worth the trouble of bringing it up
    3. Try to figure out how to express myself, but struggle to do so
    4. Say sorry for feeling hurt- it was probably my fault anyway
  6. If I am busy and someone asks me to do a favor for them, I:some text
    1. Tell them I am busy and have no time 
    2. Distance myself from them in hopes they will forget
    3. Avoid answering altogether — I’m not sure what to say
    4. Say yes, even if I am incredibly overwhelmed. I don’t want to disappoint them


If mostly As: Fight Response

You tend to face challenges head-on, displaying assertiveness and courage. However, this response can sometimes manifest as aggressiveness or perfectionism. Recognizing this tendency can help you balance assertiveness with empathy. With brain retraining, you can reshape your brain’s responses, promoting healthier and more adaptive behaviors. Learn more about re-origin’s brain retraining program today.

If mostly Bs: Flight Response

Your instinct is to escape or avoid stressful situations. While this can be beneficial in genuinely dangerous situations, it may lead to avoidance of necessary responsibilities or growth opportunities. Understanding this response can help you find healthier coping mechanisms. With brain retraining, you can reshape your brain’s responses, promoting healthier and more adaptive behaviors. Learn more about re-origin’s brain retraining program today.

If mostly Cs: Freeze Response

In stressful situations, you might feel paralyzed or numb, avoiding an action. This response can protect you from overwhelming emotions but might also hinder you from engaging fully with life. Recognizing this pattern is the first step towards change. With brain retraining, you can reshape your brain’s responses, promoting healthier and more adaptive behaviors. Learn more about re-origin’s brain retraining program today.

If mostly Ds: Fawn Response

You often prioritize others' needs over your own to avoid conflict, which can lead to codependent relationships and neglecting your well-being. By understanding this response, you can start setting healthier boundaries. With brain retraining, you can reshape your brain’s responses, promoting healthier and more adaptive behaviors. Learn more about re-origin’s brain retraining program today.

What is a trauma response?

Responding strongly to a traumatic experience is completely normal human behavior. It is how the brain responds to abnormal or life-threatening circumstances to keep us safe in the best way it knows how. These responses can be immediate, delayed, subtle, or obvious.

How each individual responds to a traumatic event is unique to the characteristics of the event, the extent of any past trauma (i.e. natural disasters, serious injury, etc.), overall brain chemistry, existing coping skills, and many sociocultural factors. 

Two people can respond differently to the exact same traumatic situation based on their personal lives leading up to that one moment. For example, in the same situation, one person may exhibit a racing heart, sweaty palms, or feelings of anxiety (trauma symptoms), while another person might dissociate and feel numb.

Typical responses to trauma include: 

  • Flashbacks
  • Negative thoughts
  • Aggression
  • Isolation
  • People-pleasing behavior
  • Dissociation (when a person disconnects from themselves)
  • Substance abuse

If you feel you are exhibiting these or any other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), please call a healthcare provider.

Trauma responses can become unwanted or maladaptive, but their origins may have not been. The initial response to a traumatic event can actually be life-saving. For instance, if someone’s initial response to being robbed is to punch, kick, and scream (examples of the Fight Response), then they may be able to deter the criminal. 

Even further, if someone lives in a dangerous neighborhood and has to walk to and from work alone at night, their flight responses can be an adaptive, appropriate response to the environmental stimulus. 

However, trauma responses can become maladaptive when the behavior continues to be demonstrated in non-threatening situations. Unresolved trauma can lead to a dysregulation of the nervous system and the potential for an overactive response in normal situations.1 

Childhood trauma can be one of the more pervasive types of trauma, as our brains are incredibly receptive to developing trauma-related coping mechanisms based on childhood experiences. 

For instance, a child of a large family with two working parents may act out in order to gain the attention that they feel they are not getting. This may bring the child closer to a family member each time they receive attention through acting out, but it can cause a negative long-term impact. Perhaps they act out every time they don’t receive the attention they believe they deserve and fail to respect the boundaries of others. This can put a strain on future relationships and keep them from connecting to loved ones more deeply.

What are the four types of trauma response?

The four most commonly recognized types of trauma response are Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Fawn. As we have seen, trauma responses can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the situation.

The Fight Response 

This occurs when we believe that we can only survive by fighting back. In order to get what we need or want in life, we must puff up our chest and potentially overcompensate in order to provide ourselves with what feels safe.

Healthy Fight Response: Assertiveness, setting boundaries, showing courage, and standing up for ourselves.

Unhealthy Fight Response: Aggressiveness, attacking or bullying others, crossing boundaries set by others, perfectionism, or workaholism.

The Flight Response 

This happens when we believe that we can only survive by escaping the situation. In order to feel safe, we must avoid the things that make us feel uncomfortable.

Healthy Flight Response: Walking away when being disrespected or ending relationships that are not healthy.

Unhealthy Flight Response: Escaping responsibilities, coping through substance abuse, remaining in a comfort zone due to fear.

The Freeze Response

This is when we completely stop what we are doing. We don’t move in any direction, or we completely numb ourselves to any uncomfortable or threatening situations.

Healthy Freeze Response: Presence mindfulness—intentionally slowing down in order to admire the things around us to feel more at ease.

Unhealthy Freeze: Numbing and dissociation. This is where we detach from what is happening around us. We do not take in any stimuli and completely switch off in order to avoid absorbing the experience.

The Fawn Response 

The response occurs as a people-pleasing behavior—we avoid speaking up for ourselves in order to minimize uncomfortable situations. A common example of this is Stockholm Syndrome.

Healthy Fawn Response: Showing compassion and empathy for others. Selflessness. Supporting, validating, and listening to loved ones.

Unhealthy Fawn Response: Sacrificing our own needs to meet the needs of others, involved in codependent relationships. Staying in situations involving domestic violence, physical abuse, or other dangerous situations.2

One’s trauma response can vary from situation to situation, but most of us have a general response to which we most commonly revert. This is based on programming that has been laid in the brain since childhood. Fortunately, our brains are incredibly malleable and can change at any age, so the way we respond to trauma is not permanent!

How do I start to heal from an overactive trauma response?

Traumatic events are often guaranteed to change our lives, but the way we approach our healing can decide whether that is for better or worse. Brain retraining is powerful in healing from an overactive trauma response and learning to shift how your brain responds to stressful situations. 

It includes creating intentional thought processes and actions that support building new neural pathways that lead to more adaptive behaviors in the face of non-traumatic events. 

To learn how to retrain your brain to transform your ingrained trauma responses, join the re-origin program.


  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (US). Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2014. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 57.) Chapter 3, Understanding the Impact of Trauma. Available from:
  2. Davies, L. (2022, March 8). What are the four main trauma responses. Centres for Health and Healing.

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