Coping with the Effects of Crisis and Trauma

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 | 12:05pm
NASHVILLE – In the aftermath of the recent devastating flooding and severe weather, many Tennesseans are finding their lives changed in ways they have never before experienced. After encountering such trauma, many people feel their safe, routine lives have suddenly become dangerous and unpredictable and they feel simply overwhelmed.
Trauma can lead to any number of emotional, behavioral and physical responses that may include feelings of anger, sadness, grief, guilt, or anxiety over people or property lost; problems with sleeping or eating; substance use; or symptoms such as headaches, numbness, and nausea. These are normal responses for persons who experience a traumatic event but they can be addressed in healthy ways.
“It is important for everyone to know they are not alone in times like this. And needed resources are available across the state,” stated Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts. “Tennessee has been rocked by horrendous weather, so it is especially important to be aware of ways to deal with the effects of these events and how best to accept and offer appropriate assistance.”
You can help yourself and others cope with these responses in a variety of ways:
DO: talk about your experiences, allow others to help, get adequate rest, eat healthy meals, develop and maintain a routine, take breaks from cleanup, keep a journal of your concerns, or participate in a support group.
DON’T: use alcohol or drugs to cope with negative feelings, work too much or stop taking care of yourself, blame others, or withdraw from family and friends.
In most instances, just following this simple advice can help ease the symptoms of acute stress disorder and prevent more serious problems like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For a list of mental health resources or crisis services in your area visit or call TDMHDD’s Office of Consumer Affairs at (615) 532-6700 or 1-800-560-5767.

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