As the Northeast picks up the pieces Hurricane Sandy left behind, worries about power, gas – and loved ones are mounting.
Doctors warn that post-traumatic stress disorder could be a future concern.
“People deal with stress in different kinds of ways,” said Dr. Eric Hollander, a psychiatrist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “So some people can get very irritable, others can have a hard time sleeping. People, for example, may start to worry about bad things happening.”
Hollander said 80 percent of people who experience significant trauma bounce back because of their body’s natural coping mechanisms.
The other 20 percent have a harder time and could become depressed or isolate themselves.
“The most important thing is for people to try to get back into some kind of routine,” Hollander said. “If people are able to get to work, that’s a good thing. If people can connect with other loved ones, that’s a good thing.”
Hollander recommends focusing on things that need to be taken care of instead of obsessing about uncertainty.
He added that people should steer clear of sedatives and alcohol to cope, which when could consolidated with traumatic memories, could and actually make you feel worse.
“We can’t control the weather,” Hollander said. “What we can control is our response. We can control our behaviors in response to a traumatic event. We can decide that we’re not going to go through it by being isolated; we can get engaged in other meaningful activities.”