After surviving a disaster, people may feel dazed or even numb. They may also feel sad, helpless, or anxious. In spite of the tragedy, some people just feel happy to be alive.
It is not unusual to have bad memories or dreams. You may avoid places or people that remind you of the disaster. You might have trouble sleeping, eating, or paying attention. Many people have short tempers and get angry easily. These are all normal reactions to stress.
Sometimes the stress can be too much to handle alone. Some people have long-term problems after a disaster, including
If your emotional reactions are getting in the way of your relationships, work, or other important activities, talk to a counselor or your doctor. Treatments are available.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Coping with a Traumatic Event (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Coping with Disaster (Department of Homeland Security)
- Disaster Distress Helpline (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Available in Spanish
- Natural Disasters (Environmental Health Student Portal) (National Library of Medicine)
- Disaster Aftereffects May Linger for Children (09/14/2015, HealthDay)
- Common Reactions After Trauma (National Center for PTSD) Available in Spanish
- Effects of Disasters: Risk and Resilience Factors (National Center for PTSD)
- Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do (National Institute of Mental Health) Available in Spanish
- Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF Available in Spanish
- Maintain a Healthy State of Mind: High School Students (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)