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Counseling is available in wake of gas disaster

by Joan Hatem-Roy of Elder Services, Eagle Tribune

Q: A friend of mine moved her mother in with her after the recent gas explosions. The elder's home had minimal damages and all the repairs have been completed. Her mother is terrified to return to her home. She has not been sleeping well at night and cries at the least little thing. My friend doesn't know what to do and she is really worried about her mother. Can you suggest how to move forward with this issue?

A: Individuals who have lived through a natural disaster (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, forest fires for example) or a traumatic event may start to display symptoms that affect their ability to function in their day-to-day life. They may become irritable, have mood swings, become depressed, have flashbacks, or become anxious. There may be a change in eating or sleep patterns or the trauma may manifest in actual physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pain or difficulty breathing.

It is important to point out while not every person will react this way it is not totally unusual. Some people will manage to return to a sense of normalcy within a short period of time while others find they are unable to regain control of their lives for months. It will be essential for anyone who seems to be trapped in feelings of doom and gloom to seek professional help to prevent long-term psychological damage.


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