Speakingout
It is notable that people are generally survivors manage and adapt quite well even in the face of tremendous disasters and hardships. However, human suffering and trauma are real and it is important that people get the emotional support they need in addition to physical or financial. Knowing ahead of time what experiences one may have is helpful to know.
Preparing for stress responses to community disasters 091212 SPEAKINGOUT 1 For the Capital City Weekly It is notable that people are generally survivors manage and adapt quite well even in the face of tremendous disasters and hardships. However, human suffering and trauma are real and it is important that people get the emotional support they need in addition to physical or financial. Knowing ahead of time what experiences one may have is helpful to know.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Story last updated at 9/12/2012 - 2:19 pm

Preparing for stress responses to community disasters

It is notable that people are generally survivors manage and adapt quite well even in the face of tremendous disasters and hardships. However, human suffering and trauma are real and it is important that people get the emotional support they need in addition to physical or financial. Knowing ahead of time what experiences one may have is helpful to know.

There are some things that help differentiate between what we refer to "normal" reactions to disaster and other reactions that may deserve more assistance. People tend to naturally react after going through a significant disaster of any kind in five typical ways: behavioral, cognitively, emotionally, physically and spiritually. These five ways are normal and expected.

• Examples of behavioral reactions might be change in eating patterns, difficulty sleeping, change in social activities, intense pacing, withdrawal, etc.

• Examples of physical reactions might be fatigue, nausea, dizziness, grinding teeth, weakness, etc.

• Cognitive examples include nightmares, confusions, poor memory, difficulty concentrating and intrusive images.

• Emotional examples may be grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability and feeling overwhelmed.

• Being angry at God or questioning your world view are common spiritual crisis.

It is important for people to reach out and reassure one another. Family, friends, groups of all kind, church affiliations and communities can assist in watching out for one another.

Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable and need extra reassurance. Depending on the magnitude of the crisis or disaster your community will bring in further resources as quickly as it can. It is important that people have a plan for emotional support in addition to food and shelter and reach out and rely on each other.

By understanding the expected normal reactions it becomes easier to support and encourage each other and to know who needs further resources at a later time. Juneau is a very caring community and it benefits all of us to understand normal reactions and offer all extra support.

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of articles on September's National Preparedness Month. To view the first, see: http://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/090512/new_1039325887.shtml.


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