After the storm | Health

It’s natural to feel stressed in difficult situations, such as job interviews, school exams, unrealistic workloads, job insecurity, or conflict with family, friends or colleagues. For many people, stress subsides over time as the situation improves or as they learn to deal with the situation emotionally.

Stress often occurs during events such as major economic crises, disease outbreaks, natural disasters, wars, and societal violence. Everyone responds to stressful situations differently, and coping styles and stress symptoms vary from person to person.

The financial cost of Hurricane Beryl will run into the billions, but its emotional, mental and physical costs are incalculable.

Mental health problems following a catastrophic event like Hurricane Beryl also don’t always appear immediately. They can affect people for years. Studies show that survivors of life-changing natural disasters are at increased risk of developing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

According to Dr. Rivane Chybar Virgo, physician and health and wellness coach, traumatic events like Hurricane Beryl are characterized by feelings of terror, helplessness, serious injury, or threat of serious injury or death for survivors, emergency responders, and friends and family of the affected victims.

“During the storm and the immediate events leading up to it, our ‘fight or flight’ response was active as we were all preparing and nervously awaiting the event. Now, in its aftermath, we are overcome with a sense of exhaustion as we have had to go, or are still enduring, without power and water for days,” said Dr. Chybar Virgo.

“Many of us may also feel a sense of defeat and despair as we see images of the devastated landscape, live in a city under lockdown, and are unable to do simple things like enjoy our once beautiful beaches. Our lives have been disrupted, and in many cases permanently,” she added.

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, series of events, or set of circumstances. A person may find this emotionally or physically damaging or life-threatening, and may affect mental, physical, social, and/or spiritual well-being. Examples include natural disasters, serious accidents, terrorist attacks, war or hostilities, rape or sexual assault, historical trauma, intimate partner violence, and bullying.

People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that persist long after the traumatic event. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear, or anger; and they may feel distant or alienated from other people.

People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as mundane as a loud noise or a random touch.

“However, for a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, symptoms must last for more than a month and cause significant distress or problems in the person’s daily life. Many people experience symptoms within three months of the trauma, but symptoms can appear later and often last for months and sometimes years. PTSD often occurs along with other associated conditions, such as depression, substance abuse, memory problems, and other physical and mental health problems,” said Dr. Chybar Virgo.

Your symptoms may be normal, especially right after the trauma. One suggestion is to keep doing the things that make you happy and healthy. Happiness often comes from the meaning we get from doing things we define as meaningful to ourselves. We can lose our meaning when we stop doing these things.

The first instinct of people who have experienced trauma is often to withdraw. Isolating ourselves from the things we love and that give us meaning only makes things worse in the long run. If suffering is getting worse and not lessening over time, it may be a good idea to seek professional help.

It’s important to note that not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD, and not everyone who develops PTSD needs mental health treatment. For some people, symptoms of PTSD lessen or disappear over time, while others get better with the help of their support system.

However, many people with PTSD require professional treatment to recover from the psychological distress, which can be intense and debilitating. It is important to remember that trauma can cause severe distress. This distress is not the fault of the individual and PTSD is treatable. The sooner a person receives treatment, the greater the chance of recovery.

[email protected]: Lee Health, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention