The best medicine is sincere support with love.
We are one heart for earthquake victims and we try to heal their wounds. I wish none of this had happened. For now, however, we can only support them financially and morally. We know it won’t ease their pain, but they need all sorts of support to get on with their lives. I would like to talk about what earthquake victims may experience in the future. Some were placed in tent cities and containers, some migrated to different provinces to live with their families or to places they were not familiar with at all. If there are earthquake survivors around you, you need to understand them first so you can help.
STRESS DISORDER MAY BE VISIBLE AFTER TRAUMA
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a possible situation for people who have personally experienced an event, such as an earthquake that killed thousands of people. Those pulled out of the rubble are expected to be most affected. At this stage, it should not be forgotten that all earthquake victims have a serious stress load. This intense stress situation does not automatically cause a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mental disorders that occur in the first weeks after the earthquake are called acute stress disorder. Conditions that appear after the first few months are considered post-traumatic stress disorder. Reactions to trauma are very diverse, and some earthquake survivors may develop mental disorders other than post-traumatic stress disorder. There is no clear answer to the question of what the probability of developing posttraumatic stress disorder depends on. Some may have a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder because of a genetic predisposition to a more intense response to stress. Others may also have greater innate resilience in response to trauma.
LOVING FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE VERY IMPORTANT
A person’s personality or temperament can influence the outcome after a trauma. A lifelong experience of trauma and available social support, such as having loving, caring friends or relatives, can also influence whether someone develops PTSD symptoms. For this reason, it is very, very important to hold the hand of earthquake victims wholeheartedly at this time. If the person does not receive the social support they need after the trauma, the risk of developing major depression increases.
DO NOT TURN IT TO THE EARTHQUAKE TIME AGAIN
It is an important step for those who have experienced a disaster of this magnitude to receive counseling and supportive therapy to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder. Don’t force survivors to reveal all the details of the trauma, and don’t let those who do either. Because such conversations can expose the person to the trauma again while reliving the trauma in their mind. We should also be aware that some earthquake victims may not want to receive professional expert assistance, this situation should be respected and not forced. Most trauma survivors have the ability to heal themselves with the support of family, friends, and close circles. Anyone who voluntarily asks for expert support still has a long way to go. Eventually, however, they will regain control of their emotions using various methods of psychotherapy and sometimes medication.
CAUTION IF SYMPTOMS LASTS MORE THAN ONE MONTH
A diagnosis of PTSD is made when some or all of the symptoms persist for more than a month and significantly impact personal, work and social life. Post-traumatic stress disorder can be long-lasting if left untreated. Symptoms can come and go over the years. According to a study of World War II prisoners, 29 percent of those who developed post-traumatic stress disorder still had symptoms 40 years after they were released.
IT CAN FEEL LIKE A CONTINUING EARTHQUAKE
Overexposure to earthquake news or stories, or witnessing it later by going to the shelter area, can also increase your stress or trigger anxiety symptoms. But it won’t give you post-traumatic stress disorder. But if someone very close to you has been affected, you are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Survivors of the earthquake and those indirectly affected by the disaster may experience symptoms that are precursors to post-traumatic stress disorder in the near future. I can list these symptoms as follows.
Having intrusive mental images, thoughts, or nightmares about the earthquake
Feeling like an earthquake is happening all the time
Have significant physical complaints, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations and sweating
Avoid any reminders of the earthquake, such as thoughts, people, conversations, or images
Not being able to remember important details about the earthquake (such as someone rescued from the wreckage can’t remember the process and how they felt)
Having clearly negative beliefs or expectations about oneself or others
Constantly blaming yourself or others for the disaster
Brutal negative emotion
Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyable
Feeling disconnected or lonely from other people
Feeling emotionally numb (not being able to experience positive emotions)
Believing that life will be shorter than expected
Constantly alert to danger and easily startled
Difficulty falling asleep, unable to sleep
Feelings of irritability, aggression, lack of concentration, recklessness or self-harm