No matter how well you have prepared, you might feel dazed or numb after going through a disaster. You may also feel sad, helpless, or anxious. In spite of the tragedy, you might 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:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Suicidal thoughts
- Alcohol or drug misuse
If your emotional reactions are getting in the way of your relationships, work, or other important activities, talk to a counselor or your health care provider. Treatments are available.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Common Reactions After Trauma (National Center for PTSD) Also in Spanish
- Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Disaster Distress Helpline (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Also in Spanish
- Effects of Disasters: Risk and Resilience Factors (National Center for PTSD)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency Also in Spanish
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope With Traumatic Events (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in Spanish
- Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event: Managing Your Stress (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Evaluation on the psychological adjustment and countermeasures of civil servants in...
- Article: Developing a Climate Change Risk Perception Model in the Philippines and...
- Article: Group memberships and post-traumatic growth: How we connect determines how we...
- Coping with Disasters -- see more articles
- Coping with a Traumatic Event (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF