Coping with stress after natural disastersBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/disaster-stress/MY01869
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Edward T. Creagan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward T. Creagan, M.D.Edward Creagan, M.D.
"The magic of the electronic village is transforming health information. The mouse and keyboard have extended the stethoscope to the 500 million people now online." — Dr. Edward Creagan
The power of the medium inspires Dr. Edward Creagan as he searches for ways to share Mayo Clinic's vast resources with the general public.
Dr. Creagan, a Newark, N.J., native, is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice medicine and palliative care. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1973 and in 1999 was president of the staff of Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Creagan, a professor of medical oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, was honored in 1995 with the John and Roma Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine Award and in 1992 with the Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award, Mayo's highest recognition. He has been recognized with the American Cancer Society Professorship of Clinical Oncology.
He describes his areas of special interest as "wellness as a bio-psycho-social-spiritual-financial model" and fitness, mind-body connection, aging and burnout.
Dr. Creagan has been an associate medical editor with Mayo Clinic's health information websites and has edited publications and CD-ROMs and reviewed articles.
"We the team of (the website) provide reliable, easy-to-understand health and wellness information so that each of us can have productive, meaningful lives," he says.
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Sept. 13, 2011
Coping with stress after natural disasters
By Edward T. Creagan, M.D.
Each one of us, either directly or indirectly, is touched by the nightmare of natural disasters. We here in the Midwest struggle with the unpredictability of tornadoes and flooding, while those on the coasts deal with hurricanes and earthquakes. These are devastating events, but you can plan for how to deal with disasters and their aftermath.
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If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.
Governmental agencies and relief services have documented some clear signs of disaster-induced stress. The list is hardly comprehensive, but here are some common reactions:
- A sense of confusion
- Disordered thinking
- Eating and sleeping patterns that are far out of our normal range
- Physical ailments such as headache, stomachache and overwhelming fatigue
- Feelings of anger and frustration
These experiences are normal. They don't mean you're going crazy. Almost always these feelings get better with time.
So what are some suggestions from experts on dealing with these unpredictable events?
- Talk with someone about your feelings — anger, sorrow and other emotions — even though it may be difficult. If possible, seek help from counselors trained to deal with post-disaster stress.
- Look out for your physical and emotional needs. Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet and get some exercise.
- Don't hold yourself responsible for the disaster. Acknowledge that you have no control over the path of a hurricane or tornado, or the direction of a flood.
And of course, you'll be better positioned to deal with nature's random acts if you have a plan. Be proactive and prepare for these events by having a disaster kit and non-perishable food stuffs, drinking water and medications on hand. Check the Federal Emergency Management Agency website for supply lists and other preparedness resources.
If you've been affected by recent hurricanes, floods or other natural disasters, please share your story.blog index
- Coping with disaster. Federal Emergency Management Agency. http://www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/cope.shtm. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- Plan and prepare. Federal Emergency Management Agency. http://www.fema.gov/plan/index.shtm. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.