What are the impacts of disaster
Regardless of which kind of disaster victim you may fall into (see Who will be affected), it is normal to experience different psychological reactions. In some cases, warning signals (i.e. more severe symptoms) may surface and warrant immediate attention:
- Heart palpitation
- Muscle pain and tension
- Sweating or chills
- Blurred vision
- Sleep disturbance
- Difficulty breathing
- High blood pressure
- Severe chest pain
- Symptoms of shock
- Slowed thinking
- poor concentration
- distortion in time perception
- decreased judgment and problem solving ability
- loss of objectivity
- repeated flashbacks
- Serious disruption in thinking
- disorganized thinking
- inability to express oneself
- decreased alertness
- excessive worry
- inability to make decisions
- self-blame or blaming others
- being easily startled
- inability to control emotions
- feeling of failure
- Panic reactions
- extreme fear or shock
- loss of self-control
- inappropriate emotions
- difficulty in verbal or written expression
- decreased efficiency
- emotional labile
- increased use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs
- social withdrawal
- avoidance of people
- things or places related to the disaster
- change in appetite
- Extreme hyperactivity
- obvious changes in speech pattern
- frequent anger outbursts
- antisocial acts (e.g. violence)
- crying spells
- unnecessary risk-taking behavior
Experiencing multiple existential losses such as
- Sense of meaning
- Sense of internal peace
- Sense of hope
- Sense of trust in religious beliefs
- Sense of connection with the world, others, self
- Extreme despair
- Filled with feelings of hopelessness
- Uneasiness and disconnection
- Doubting one's personal beliefs
- Evolving thoughts of harmful acts to others and oneself
Many of the above reactions tend to subside over time. But if you wish to speed up the process of impact alleviation, check out some self-care skills that suit you:
Response: For Disaster Survivors & Relatives
Response: For Disaster Workers
If the impacts persist or warning signals emerge, don't hesitate to seek professional support listed at Resources: Professional Services to prevent the condition from deteriorating.
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-  Harris, J. I., Thornton, S., & Engdahl, B. (2010). The Psychospiritual Impact of Disaster An Overview. In Creating spiritual and psychological resilience (pp. 108-118). Routledge.
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-  Jang, L. J., & LaMendola, W. F. (2007). Social work in natural disasters: The case of spirituality and post-traumatic growth. Advances in Social Work, 8(2), 305-316.
-  Schreiber, J. A., & Brockopp, D. Y. (2012). Twenty-five years later—what do we know about religion/spirituality and psychological well-being among breast cancer survivors? A systematic review. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 6(1), 82-94.
-  When the Unexpected Comes.Hospital Authority.
-  Wortmann, J. H., Park, C. L., & Edmondson, D. (2011). Trauma and PTSD symptoms: Does spiritual struggle mediate the link?. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 3(4), 442.