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Hurricane Katrina is gone It ripped up homes lives and hearts But the disaster left in its wake continues to evolve The psychological results of this natural disaster continue to spread through both survivors and witnesses alike Humans Ive witnessed so far seem to be remarkably resilient beings But the trauma of a disaster pushes them to their limits People often experience strong and unpleasant emotional and physical responses to disasters as we have seen in the past The World Wars and 911 for example After reading a few articles the most common normal feelings surrounding this disaster seem to include panic feeling out of control anger despair anxiety re-experiencing the event flashbacks numbing and avoidance of difficult memories or feelings loss of trust and disorientation If these reactions last for more than a month however then a person may have Post-Traumatic Stress disorder PTSD PTSD is a mental health disorder that typically develops in a small percentage of people after exposure to an event in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened People with PTSD may repeatedly re-experience a traumatic event through flashback episodes nightmares or frightening and intrusive thoughts especially when something reminds them of the trauma Recently scientists have developed effective treatments for PTSD These include medications cognitive behavioral psychosocial treatments and talk therapies that teach people to manage upsetting and unwanted thoughts as well as physical symptoms On the other hand there may also be unusually strong feelings of brotherhood generosity and caring for others All of these powerful emotions were likely to surface in the days following the disaster Those who lost loved ones will experience terrible grief With time this usually eases I have found the single most important thing that lets people cope with a disaster is helping or getting help from other people This help includes Simply being with others and talking about ones experience listening to others Having answers is not as important as showing
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