Understanding 'Disaster Reactions'

Posted on November 16, 2015

Photo source: Freeimages

Watching a traumatic event unfold on television, radio, the internet or social media sets into motion a variety of psychological reactions, called Disaster Reactions. These psychological reactions have physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral presentations. Some examples are listed below:

• Apathy, diminished interest in usual activities
• Feelings of gratefulness for being alive
• Feelings of isolation or abandonment
• Persistent or obsessive thoughts
• Sense of being in a bad dream
• Slowness of thinking, difficulty comprehending
• Visual flashbacks

Tips for Coping with Disaster Stress

1. Stay active. Falling into passivity can worsen psychological and physical disaster reactions.
2. Stay on track. Resume a normal routine as soon as possible. Tending to your daily schedule helps ground you in normalcy. For children, this is especially important.
3. Understand trauma. Remind yourself that it's expected to have these kinds of reactions in the face of the disastrous event. It's especially important to teach children that reactions like these are normal.
4. Don't numb your pain. Be aware that reducing or avoiding pain with drugs or alcohol will only lengthen your traumatic response.
5. Express yourself. Whether it's talking about your experience or expressing it in other forms, releasing your thoughts and feelings about the disaster will help you heal.

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Category(s):Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD, Stress Management

Source material from Dr. Deb


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