Factoid: In a large disaster, 43% or more of individuals can show signs of emotional trauma following an initial disaster. This is why the American Red Cross, deploys hundreds of Disaster Mental Health workers to disaster-affected regions from the first moments that the disaster has taken place.
We typically associate the term post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD) with soldiers returning from the war, but indeed, post-traumatic stress disorder can be any anxiety disorder that develops following exposure to extreme life events that evoke great horror or helplessness.
Emotional Distress After a Disaster
What are some of the symptoms? The list is long but consider these emotional factors (and I will not even begin to address the physical symptoms:
- Grief or sadness
- Mood swings
- Emotional numbing
- Loss of pleasure derived from familiar activities
- Difficulty feeling happy
- Difficulty experiencing loving feelings
- Impaired concentration
- Impaired decision making ability
- Memory impairment
- Decreased self-esteem
- Decreased self-efficacy
- Intrusive thoughts/memories
- Do not be too proud to ask for help. Reach out and let your emotional state be known. Yes, you may want to hide under the covers and isolate yourself but truly, your friends, family and even those in outside organizations can help you unburden the load.
- Do not make important decisions when you are angry. You may feel that you want to chuck it all and simply walk away from your life. This is normal and you should expect to have extreme and perhaps irrational impulses. This is why so many couple split up after the death of a child. Resist this urge to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life. There will be plenty of time later when your emotional state is more stable.