Coping With Natural Disasters and Other Tragedies
This web page gives examples of some common responses to disaster and traumatic events and additional tips for coping and self care.
Typical Responses to Tragedy and Disaster
- Anger or Irritability
- Feelings of Hopelessness
- Mood Changes
- Changes in Activity Level
- Social Withdrawal or Isolation
- Eating or Appetite Changes
- Sleep Disturbance/Insomnia
- Increased Use of Alcohol/Drugs
- Inability to Relax
- Difficulty Making Decisions
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Dreams/Nightmares of Event
- “Flashbacks” of Crisis Event
- Confusion or Self-doubt
- Fatigue/Loss of Energy
- Headaches/Back Pain
- GI Distress/Nausea/Vomiting
- Muscle Tension
- Rapid Heart Beat
- Sweating or Chills
- Exaggerated Startle Response
Tips for Coping and Self-Care
- Reach out and make contact with others.
- Talk with friends and loved ones.
- Recognize and accept your feelings as "normal" responses to extreme circumstances.
- Express your feelings appropriately; consider keeping a journal to help in the process.
- Structure your time.
- Maintain your usual schedule as much as you can.
- Get extra rest and set aside time to relax.
- Eat regular balanced meals even if you don't feel hungry.
- Exercise or participate in some regular physical activity.
- Don't make major decisions or changes in your life.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
- Consider contacting CAPS or a mental health professional if symptoms persist at (850) 474-2420.
American Psychological Association: Recovering Emotionally From Disaster
Lifeline.org: Recovering After a Natural Disaster
Escambia County Division of Emergency Management: General Flood Information