Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Terrorism and Disaster Reactions

When news of a terrorist attack occurs, it can cause suffering not only to those at ground zero, but others who witness the aftermath.

Watching a traumatic event unfold on television, radio, the internet or social media sets into motion a variety of psychological reactions, called Disaster Reactions.  


The list above shows you some of the many kinds of experiences children, teens and adults can have after a crisis. 


Tips for Coping with Terrorism


1. Stay active Falling into passivity can worsen psychological and physical disaster reactions. Children and adults need to engage in meaningful activities. 
2. Stay on track Resume a normal routine as soon as possible. Tending to your daily schedule helps ground you in normalcy. For children, this is especially important.
3. Understand trauma Remind yourself that it's expected to have these kinds of reactions in the face of the disastrous event. It's especially important to teach children that reactions like these are normal.
4. Don't numb your pain Be aware that reducing or avoiding pain with drugs or alcohol will only lengthen your traumatic response. Talk to you children about stress reactions and model healthy behavior for them.
5. Express yourself Whether it's talking about your experience or expressing it in other forms, releasing your thoughts and feelings about the disaster will help you heal. Talk openly about the event and encourage discussions. For younger children, drawing and playing can help them express disaster reactions.
6. Reach out to others While it's expected that you may want to be alone to deal with the trauma you've witnessed, studies shows that connecting to others helps us recover more quickly from disaster. If your child or teen wishes to "be alone" or disconnects from others, talk about the importance of connection and the healing benefits of staying bonded to others. 
7. Unplug from media When disaster strikes, the media tends to over-report and over-saturate the public with images, misinformation and high anxiety information. Limit nternet, television and radio experiences to help shield you - and your children - from over-exposure.
8. Be patient with others Realize that those around you are also under stress and may not act or react in a manner you would normally expect. 
9. Watch your caffeine Avoid caffeine as its effects can amplify anxiety and disaster stress response. So limit your intake of coffee, soda and tea. And for kids, too much chocolate, and caffeine drinks can heighten anxiety and irritability.
10. Celebrate goodness Remind yourself and your children that there is exponentially more good in the world than bad. Celebrate kindness and beauty, and revive your connection to humanity so your mind, body and soul can heal. 

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