As the mere destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria comes to light, it is feeling an equally devastating impact on the emotional and mental health of those who find themselves in these natural disasters.
The extremely powerful and destructive Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys in the US. UU Earlier this month, followed quickly by Hurricane Maria, which caused widespread and catastrophic damage to their roads. These terrible natural events continue since Hurricane Harvey, which devastated parts of Texas in August. Throughout the summer there were wildfires in the western United States and Canada. And Mexicans are now dealing with the effects of 3 major earthquakes only in the month of September.
Although the immediate danger may have happened to some people, for many the stress and anxiety of living in such terrifying situations continue to have their effect.
What the experts say
Experts in psychology have discovered that mental health can be significantly affected after disasters and a pattern of mental health symptoms has been evidenced. In one study, researchers documented changes in mental and physical health among several hundred low-income parents after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The results found that almost half of the participants probably had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and their effects on health continued for a year or Plus.
Yuval Neria, Dr., Professor of Medical Psychology and Director of the PTSD Research and Treatment Program at Columbia University Medical Center explains: "Usually, what we see first is anxiety, fear, difficulty concentrating and the functioning … If that is not addressed, the substance abuse from the personal point of view ". The medication is a danger. Post-traumatic stress disorder is also a concern, "he says.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a set of psychological reactions to the experience of a traumatic or life-threatening event. It can manifest itself in fear, anxiety and memories of trauma, and it can persist for long periods of time and even interfere with the maintenance of a functional life.
Symptoms of traumatic stress
According to James Shultz, PhD, director of the Center for Disaster Preparedness and Extreme Events at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, people who experience life-threatening exposure during natural disasters are more likely to develop PTSD. While, with such intense 24-hour news coverage that shares horrific images and stories, anyone affected by such disasters may experience the symptoms of traumatic stress and feelings of hopelessness and hopelessness. impotence.
Typical symptoms of traumatic events may include:
Intrusive thoughts Sleep problems and nightmares Feeling more angry and agitated than normal An intensified startle reaction Avoidance behaviors Difficulty concentrating Fight emotionally with your normal daily routine
The symptoms of PTSD usually begin soon after the traumatic event, but may also appear months or even years later. Trauma symptoms that last more than 3 days may be an acute stress disorder, and symptoms that last more than 4 weeks or that are particularly distressing or distressing are likely to be PTSD.
As the initial symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may not present themselves immediately, treatment is generally not recommended until two weeks After a traumatic experience Before professional treatment, and even if professional treatment is not required, it is important to start taking care of yourself and reduce the stressors that can aggravate any trauma you have experienced.
Tips to help
Here are some tips to help recovery after experiencing a traumatic natural disaster:
Minimize the exposure of the media in the disaster Allow yourself to experience your feelings and do not try to bury them. This will only slow the process. Talk to others to get help Restore a routine: Consistency is comforting Feed your body with healthy foods by avoiding fast, convenient processed foods, where possible Understand that recovery is a process and be patient with your progress Take positive actions to Challenge your feeling of helplessness. Participate in volunteering to help make a difference, or start rebuilding your own home and restoring your environment Stay active and move to release endorphins
Practice relaxation methods
Make stress reduction a priority. While A certain amount of stress is normal, and can actually help you in the middle of a disaster, too much stress in progress will prevent you from recovering. Try some different ways to relax, including:
Muscle relaxation exercises Breathing exercises Meditation Swimming, stretching, yoga Listening to relaxing music Spending time in nature
In general, feelings of anxiety, numbness, confusion, guilt and despair after a disaster or traumatic event will begin to fade in a relatively short time. However, if your reaction to traumatic stress is so intense and persistent that it interferes with your ability to function, you may need the help of a mental health professional, preferably a trauma specialist.
We recommend that you start with a psychological treatment instead of using medication as the first and only solution to the problem.
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