Coping With a Traumatic EventA traumatic event turns your world upside down.
After surviving a disaster or act of violence, 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. It will take time before you start to feel better.
You may have strong feelings right away. Or you may not notice a change until much later, after the crisis is over. Stress can change how you act with your friends and family. It will take time for you to feel better and for your life to return to normal. Give yourself time to heal. These steps may help you feel better.
A traumatic event disrupts your life. There is no simple fix to make things better right away. But there are actions that can help you, your family, and your community heal. Try to:
Sometimes the stress can be too much to handle alone.
Ask for help if you:
If you or someone you know is having trouble dealing with a tragedy, ask for help. Talk to a counselor, your doctor, or community organization, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).
Because of the tremendous loss of life, serious injuries, missing and separated families, and destruction of whole areas often associated with disasters, it is important that relief workers recognize the situation they encounter may be extremely stressful. Keeping an item of comfort nearby, such as a family photo, favorite music, or religious material, can often offer comfort in such situations. Checking in with family members and close friends from time to time is another means of support.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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Regina Garson, Publisher
Death & Grief
Panic & Anxiety