Psychological Response to Disaster
Why do I feel the way I do?
Disasters often strike with little or no warning. In an instant your home, community and sense of well-being can be damaged, destroyed and forever changed. Even if your home or business does not suffer direct damage, the disaster touches everyone who experiences it.
For many, the disaster continues as a very real presence, with multiple delays in the effort to recover and rebuild coupled with ongoing and prolonged stress and family or financial problems. While the desire to get back to “normal” and surviving day to day are immediate concerns which must be addressed, emotional reactions are often pushed aside or ignored.
of sadness, depression, frustration,
anger and anxiety are very common
and normal reactions to an abnormal event. Nightmares,
flashbacks, isolation, substance abuse, domestic violence, self harming behavior
and suicide may increase
following a disaster. It is not
unusual for these feelings to come and go and to last for several months,
sometimes longer. These reactions
may be experienced in thoughts, feelings and actions, and is often upsetting to
the individual, loved ones and may affect relationships in the workplace.
to recognize the normal reactions and emotions that occur following a disaster
can help give a better understanding of these feelings, making it more
comfortable and effective in coping with them. It is very important to remember that they are
Key Concepts to Remember for Recovery
Helpful Links for Coping with Traumatic Events
Managing Your Stress (PDF, 431 KB)
Last Revised: March 19, 2014