The following information was provided in a press release from the Department of Veterans Affairs regional office in
Tips to help in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita
Following a disaster, people typically describe a range of emotions including relief to be alive, followed by stress, fear, and anger.
Common reactions to a disaster
► Feeling hopeless about the future & detached or unconcerned about others
► Trouble concentrating
► Jumpy & startle easily at sudden noise
► On guard and constantly alert
► Having disturbing dreams/memories
You may also experience more physical reactions such as:
► Stomach upset, trouble eating
► Trouble sleeping & exhaustion
► Pounding heart, rapid breathing
► Severe headache if thinking of the event, sweating
► Failure to engage in exercise, diet, safe sex, regular health care
► Excess smoking, alcohol, drugs, food
► Worsening of chronic medical problems
► Or have more emotional troubles such as:
► Feeling nervous, helpless, fearful, sad
► Feeling numb, unable to experience love or joy
► Avoiding people, places, and things related to the event
► Being irritable or outbursts of anger
► Becoming easily upset or agitated
Common problems that can occur
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
► Self-blame, guilt and shame
► Suicidal thoughts—Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the website, www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
► Anger or aggressive behavior
► Alcohol/Drug abuse
► In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, almost everyone will find themselves unable to stop thinking about what happened. Many will also exhibit high levels of arousal. For most, fear, anxiety, remembering, efforts to avoid reminders, and arousal symptoms, if present, will gradually decrease over time.
► Use your personal support systems, family and friends, when you are ready to talk. Recovery is an ongoing gradual process. If your emotional reactions are getting in the way of your relationships, work, or other important activities you may want to talk to a counselor or your doctor.
► For more information about VA care for those with PTSD, call the PTSD Information Line at (802) 296-6300 or send email to email@example.com or call the Dallas Regional Office of Public Affairs at 817.385.3720.