TIPS FOR SURVIVORS OF A TRAUMATIC EVENT by j0k3r

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									Tips for Survivors of a Traumatic Event
What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life

Things to Remember When Trying to Understand Disaster Events
•  oonewhoexperiencesa N disasterisuntouchedbyit. •  tisnormaltofeelanxiousabout I youandyourfamily’ssafety. •  rofoundsadness,grief,and P angerarenormalreactionstoan abnormalevent. •  cknowledgingourfeelings A helpsusrecover. •  ocusingonyourstrengthsand F abilitieswillhelpyoutoheal. The effect of a disaster or traumatic event goes far beyond its immediate devastation. Just as it takes time to reconstruct damaged buildings, it takes time to grieve and rebuild our lives. Life may not return to normal for months, or even years, following a disaster or traumatic event. There may be changes in living conditions that cause changes in dayto-day activities, leading to strains in relationships, changes in expectations, and shifts in responsibilities. These disruptions in relationships, roles, and routines can make life unfamiliar or unpredictable. •  cceptinghelpfromcommunity A programsandresourcesishealthy. •  eeachhavedifferentneeds W anddifferentwaysofcoping. •  tiscommontowanttostrike I backatpeoplewhohavecaused greatpain.However,nothing goodisaccomplishedbyhateful languageoractions.

D •  epression,sadness,and feelingsofhopelessness. M •  oodswingsandcryingeasily. D •  ifficultymaintainingbalance. H •  eadaches/stomachproblems. • Tunnelvision/muffledhearing. • Coldsorflu-likesymptoms. • Difficultysleeping. • Poorworkperformance. • Reluctancetoleavehome. F •  earofcrowds,strangers,or beingalone. • Increaseduseofdrugs/alcohol.

Ways to Ease the Stress
•  alkwithsomeoneaboutyour T feelings(anger,sorrow,and otheremotions)eventhoughit maybedifficult. •  on’tholdyourselfresponsible D forthedisastrouseventorbe frustratedbecauseyoufeelthat youcannothelpdirectlyinthe rescuework. •  akestepstopromoteyourown T physicalandemotionalhealing bystayingactiveinyourdaily lifepatternsorbyadjustingthem.  Ahealthyapproachtolife(e.g., healthyeating,rest,exercise, relaxation,meditation)willhelp bothyouandyourfamily.

Signs that Stress Management Assistance Is Needed
•  isorientationorconfusionand D difficultycommunicatingthoughts. •  imitedattentionspanand L difficultyconcentrating •  ecomingeasilyfrustrated. B •  verwhelmingguiltand O self-doubt.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Mental Health Services www.samhsa.gov

•  aintainanormalhouseholdanddailyroutine,limitingdemandingresponsibilities M ofyourselfandyourfamily. •  pendtimewithfamilyandfriends. S •  articipateinmemorials,rituals,andtheuseofsymbolsasawaytoexpressfeelings. P •  seexistingsupportsgroupsoffamily,friends,andspiritual/religiousoutlets. U •  stablishafamilyemergencyplan.Itcanbecomfortingtoknowthatthereis E somethingyoucando. A  disasterortraumaticeventcanhavefar-reachingeffectsinseveralmajorareasofour lives,makingrebuildingouremotionallivesextremelydifficult.However,sometimes justknowingwhattoexpectcanhelpeasethetransitionbacktoanormallife.Asyou andyourfamilybegintorebuildyourlives,youmayfaceanyorallofthesituations describedbelow.

Personal Uncertainties
•  eelingmentallydrainedandphysicallyexhaustedisnormalandcommon. F •  helossofahome,business,orincomemayresultindisplacementandconfusion T aboutthefuture. •  nresolvedemotionalissuesorpre-existingproblemsandpreviouslossesmayresurface. U •  nniversariesofthedisasterortraumaticeventremindusofourlosses.Thisreaction A maybetriggeredbytheeventdateeachmonthandmaybeespeciallystrongonthe yearlyanniversaryoftheevent.

Family Relationship Changes
•  elationshipsmaybecomestressedwheneveryone’semotionsareheightened,and R conflictswithspousesandotherfamilymembersmayincrease. •  henhomesaredestroyedordamaged,familiesmayhavetoliveintemporary W housingorwithrelativesandfriends,leadingtoovercrowdingandaddedtension. •  amilymembersorfriendsmaybeforcedtomoveoutofthearea,disrupting F relationshipsandusualsupportsystems. •  arentsmaybephysicallyoremotionallyunavailabletotheirchildrenfollowinga P disasterortraumaticevent,becausetheyarebusycleaninguporarepreoccupied, distracted,ordistressedbydifficultiesrelatedtotheevent. •  arentsmaybecomeoverprotectiveoftheirchildrenandtheirchildren’ssafety. P •  hildrenmaybeexpectedtotakeonmoreadultroles,suchaswatchingsiblingsor C helpingwithcleanupefforts,leavinglesstimetospendwithfriendsorparticipatein routineactivities,suchassummercamporfieldtrips.

Work Disruptions
•  atigueandincreasedstressfrompreoccupationwithpersonalissuescanleadtopoor F workperformance. •  onflictswithco-workersmayincrease,becauseoftheaddedstress. C •  usinessesmaybeforcedtolayoffemployees,orcompanyworkhoursandwages B maybecut.

Additional Resources
Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) 8730GeorgiaAvenue,Suite600    SilverSpring,MD20910    Phone:240-485-1001     Fax:240-485-1035 Website:www.adaa.org National Mental Health Association 2001N.BeauregardStreet,12thFloor Alexandria,VA22311     Localphone:703-684-7742 Toll-free:800-969-NMHA(6642)   Fax:703-684-5968 Website:www.nmha.org/reassurance/anniversary/index.cfm Department of Veterans Affairs NationalCenterforPost-TraumaticStressDisorder 116DVAMedicalandRegionalOfficeCenter  WhiteRiverJunction,VT05009   Phone:802-296-6300 Website:www.ncptsd.va.gov/facts/disasters/fs_rescue_ workers.html Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 500CStreet,S.W. Washington,DC20472 Toll-free:800-621-FEMA Website:www.fema.gov/index2.htm National Institute of Mental Health OfficeofCommunications 6001ExecutiveBoulevard Room8184,MSC9663 Bethesda,MD20892-9663 Localphone:301-443-4513 Toll-free:866-615-NIMH(6464) TTY:301-443-8431 Fax:301-443-4279 Website:www.nimh.nih.gov

R •  educedincomemayrequiretakingasecondjob. D •  ailytravelandcommutepatternsmaybe disrupted,becauseofthelossofacarorroad reconstruction.

Financial Worries
T •  hosewhoexperienceworkdisruptionsmaybe unabletoregaintheirpreviousstandardofliving, leadingtofinancialconcernsandunpaidbills. S •  eekingfinancialassistancetorebuildandrepair damagesaddstothealreadyhighlevelsofstress causedbythedisasterortraumaticevent,andthe hasslesofdealingwithabureaucracycanaddto thefrustration.

How to Be a Survivor
Regardlessofindividualcircumstances,everyoneneeds tocompleteseveralstepstorecoveryfromadisasteror traumaticevent. • Accepttherealityoftheloss. •  llowyourselfandotherfamilymemberstofeel A sadnessandgriefoverwhathashappened. •  djusttoanewenvironment.Acknowledgethat A thepersonorpossessionslostaregoneforever. •  utclosuretothesituationandmoveon.Donot P continuetoletthelosstakeitsphysical,emotional, orspiritualtoll. • Havefaithinbettertimestocome. Youandyourfamilyhavesurvivedatraumaticevent. Thatdoesn’tmeanyourlivesareoverorthatyoudon’t deservetobehappyagain.Returntodoingthingsyou enjoywithfriendsandasafamily.Reestablishthe routinesofyourlife.Makecommitmentsandkeepthem. Ifyouoramemberofyourfamilystillhastrouble coping,askforhelp.Consultacounselorormental healthprofessional.Intheworkplace,youmaybe abletogetassistancefromyourhumanresources departmentoryourcompany’sEmployeeAssistance Program.Forhelpwithfinancialmatters,contacta financialadvisor.

Note: Inclusion of a resource in this fact sheet does not imply endorsement by the Center for Mental Health Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. KEN-01-0097/NMH02-0139 9/2005


								
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