Being prepared for a disaster can help reduce stress and anxiety, but that does mean a disaster will be anxiety free. Depending on the severity of the disaster or accident, a person can end up with very deep emotional scars.
After Hurricane Katrina, mental health professionals saw an increase in anxiety disorders, phobias, PTSD and depression. This finding is not uncommon and is backed up with numerous studies.
Events that may cause such a response include the loss of a friend or family member, serious injuries, extreme fear during a disaster, displacement from home and more. The risk of developing a disorder is related to the severity of the disaster.
Signs that you or a loved one may be dealing with emotional trauma after a disaster include:
- Sleep issues
- Stomachaches or headaches
- Feeling angry or edgy
- Overwhelming sadness
- Lack of energy
- Over eating or not eating enough
- Excessive use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco
If you or someone you know are experiencing these issues, there is help available. Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for free. The hearing impaired can call 1-800-846-8517.