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After a Disaster

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Everyone reacts differently following a disaster. Most reactions are considered normal and are temporary. Anticipating possible reactions, though, can help you successfully transition.

As you prepare to return home, consider these common reactions:

  • Irritability and anger
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hyper-alertness
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Sadness
  • Nausea
  • Lack of concentration
  • Increase in alcohol or drug consumption

Below are some strategies that may help you cope with the reactions:

  • Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
  • Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
  • Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
  • Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
  • Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
  • Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan. Doing these positive actions can be comforting.

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