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
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
- Common Reactions After Trauma (National Center for PTSD) Also in Spanish
- 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) 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 Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in Spanish
- Natural Disasters (Environmental Health Student Portal) (National Library of Medicine)
- Tips for Disaster Responders: Preventing and Managing Stress (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Mental Health During Environmental Crisis and Mass Incident Disasters.
- Article: Stories after disaster survival: Preparing, heeding warnings, and self-reliance.
- Article: Development of post-disaster psychosocial evaluation and intervention for children: Results...
- Coping with Disasters -- see more articles