Can new traumas be experienced in the earthquake region?
Stating that acute stress reactions can be seen in the person between 3 and 30 days after the earthquake, experts warned that over-stimulation symptoms such as irritability, verbal or physical anger explosions towards people and objects, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, excessive alertness and excessive startle reactions may occur. Expressing that the speed of aid and the interest shown to earthquake victims may start to decrease in the three weeks following the disaster, experts underline the importance of meeting the needs in this process. According to experts, new traumas may occur with the emergence of problems such as epidemics and black market.
Üsküdar University Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Department of Psychology Instructor Asst. Prof. Mert Akcanbaş evaluated the traumas that occur in natural disasters such as earthquakes and the interventions regarding these traumas.
Many losses can occur in disasters
Stating that different types of losses can occur in disasters, Dr. Mert Akcanbaş said that these can be listed in terms of importance as financial losses, emotional losses, organ losses and those with permanent marks, and spiritual, religious and moral losses.
Noting that the least affecting of these is financial losses, the loss with the greatest damage to people is moral, religious and moral losses, Mert Akcanbaş said, “There should be no predictions about how the victim feels. It should not be thought that every victim will become psychologically ill, and their reactions should not be approached as pathological. Victims should not be treated as if you are a teacher, and their mistakes and wrongs should not be exposed. The victim should not be forced to learn all the details of the incident immediately. Speculative answers should not be given to the questions of the victim on unknown issues.”.
9 key signs which could be signs of acute stress disorder
Stating that acute stress reactions can be seen in the person between 3 and 30 days after the earthquake, Dr. Mert Akcanbaş said that some of the symptoms that can be seen in this process may be an indication that the person has acute stress disorder. Dr. Mert Akcanbaş listed these symptoms as follows:
- Constantly and involuntarily remembering the stressful part of the traumatic event.
- Dreams in which the traumatic event or the emotions experienced at the time of the event are experienced again.
- Reactions defined as the victim behaving and feeling as if the traumatic event were reoccurring (flashback).
- Feeling psychological stress or reacting physiologically to internal and external triggers that symbolize or remind of a part of the traumatic event.
- Inability to experience positive emotions.
- Different perceptions about the person themselves or the reality of their environment (seeing themselves through the eyes of others, blurred vision, feeling that time slows down).
- Inability to remember a significant part of the traumatic event.
- Avoiding memories, feelings, and thoughts about or connected with the trauma.
- Avoidance of external factors that trigger memories, thoughts, or feelings about or associated with the trauma.
Beware of outbursts of anger and sleep disturbance!
Dr. Mert Akcanbaş said that the symptoms of over-stimulation are “irritability, verbal or physical outbursts of anger towards people and objects (in the absence of provocation), sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, extreme alertness and extreme startle reactions”.
Priority needs must be met immediately
Mentioning the needs that emerged immediately after the earthquake, Akcanbaş said: “These priority needs are providing physical security, shelter, food, heating and cleaning needs, medical support for those in need such as glasses, walking sticks, wheelchairs, medicines that should be used regularly and or dialysis, a safe area for children to play. It is to ensure that people who are separated from an area and their relatives are reunited as soon as possible.”.
Measures should be taken against the possibility that the interest will start to decrease
Expressing that the speed of aid and the interest shown to the earthquake victims may start to decrease in the three weeks following the earthquakes, Akcanbaş stated the positive thoughts of the society and the victims may decrease. Mert Akcanbaş warned that “Shelter and subsistence problems increase. In this 'disappointment' phase, people need to be provided with reliable accommodation as soon as possible, and their needs of food, heating and hygiene should be met. Otherwise, problems such as epidemics and black market may arise and new traumas may occur.”.
Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)