Traumatic events are not uncommon. In fact, about two-thirds of the general population suffers from trauma once or twice in a year. Many countries, not only the United States, have had the experience of witnessing terrorism attacks and shootings, domestic and sexual abuse and forced transfers. Other countries may even have a higher incidence of these traumatic events than the United States has.
Lately, however, Americans have been overwhelmed by the hurricanes that have been damaging their homes and destroying their lives. Most of the Texas and New Orleans residents have struggled to keep themselves together just to get through their challenges daily. Some of them were even advised to go into therapy, but of course, they would ask, “How much would therapy cost?” Some who were more knowledgeable of the web perhaps came across BetterHelp.com where they can chat or talk to an online therapist about mental health problems.
Natural Disasters Can Cause PTSD
The devastation that the past hurricanes have caused the American people has undoubtedly resulted in mental and emotional harm in the aftermath. Though there are ways that help us detect their coming, we have never been too expectant and ready for them, and their wrath has always left us with feelings of shock and fear. People are left with almost nothing but themselves – if the whole family survives, that is. They’ve lost their homes, their cars, and their jobs.
Most of these victims are also suffering from mental health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder, a condition where individuals develop fears after witnessing traumatic events such as natural disasters. They often have nightmares and flashbacks that impede their daily activities at times. They have difficulty sleeping for fear that when they wake up, the horror of the past experience will haunt them again.
Cassie, 45, a survivor of the wrath of Katrina, recalled being literally alone, and she says the water was up to her chin. Her kids had gone out when the hurricane came, and she couldn’t move, didn’t know what to do.
“I saw people dropping dead, people getting beat up. I saw it all. I saw it all. Now, I don’t want to be left alone in the house. Wherever my daughter goes, I go.”
The fear of being left by yourself is one of the most common manifestations of PTSD. Researchers say that better support and management for these survivors can help prevent the incidence of people suffering from too much emotional damage.
Ken Turner couldn’t move when he saw water rushing into his home. He saw water everywhere – in his neighbor’s home and in everyone’s homes. It shocked him, leaving him psychologically challenged and speechless in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder got me,” he often says. “I’m suffering with it. I see a psychiatrist every month for it. I had to get help.”
PTSD from Natural Disasters – It Is Real
The effects of natural disasters in the mental and emotional state of survivors may not be very visible the way the hurricane has visibly destroyed homes and livelihoods and lives, but it is truly real. People suffer too much and they feel too much sadness and fear that most of them are still carrying that fear with them despite the fact that they have survived and lived again.
Like Turner, many more survivors have PTSD and are living with it, and probably will for the rest of their lives. They are regularly being treated with therapy and medications. But healing is possible through time. They just need all the support they can get from others, and of course from themselves too.