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Question
Posted by: Natural | 2011-01-13

Disaster trauma

Hi CS

Looking at whats going on over in Australia, with the Noah arks party going on, what in your professional opinon would be the psychological impact on those living there through what is happening? I was watching some reports and they seem to be taking it pretty well, they are quite resilient, one guy even invited Australian PM in to have a beer in the middle of the flood!
Would you say some people can get PTSD from such an event, from living and surviving it and being left in the total desolation? Or am i over reacting and underestimating the " human spirit" .

My primary reason for asking is a friend mentioned to me that he would not be able to handle going through that and it made me think, also they knew it was going to happen they were warned, i dont understand why they didnt like drive away from the coast into the outback and take a hoilday with the aboriginis or something, why do people still stay when death is not only smiling winking waving and getting closer but is like right in their face?! Some people even stayed in their homes and refused help, is this some sort of psycholgical problem they have? Would this be some form of insanity, like a death wish?

Your expert opinon is highly apprecited.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I know personally some of the Australian shrinks who would be involved in his sort of disaster, as well as others in this field.
Generally, as you suggest, most of us are remarkably resilient on such occasions, and concentrate on surviving and saving what you can of your belongings. The more there is a sense of community spirit and sharing the problems and solutions, the better.
How we anticipate we MIGHT handle such events is unreliable - some of us certain we would crumble turn out to be heroes, an som of those confidence of their abilities, dont cope at all. Those who are sure they would and should cope, usually handle it very badly if faced with a situation where they can't cope.
There will surely be some PTSD, but probably not as much as you might expect. Where there was unpleasant problems and inconvenience but not direct and real threat to life, there are less lasting psychological problems ; similar where there are opportunities to effectively do SOMETHING about it all or to help others.
Why do people stay when maybwe they ought to go to greater safety ? Human nature. We don't like warnings, and aren't convinced they should applu to US rather than those guys further up the road. And of course there can be realistic concerns, both a lack of knowing where to go and where you could stay, and a concern that someone might rob and loot your home or business while you were away. Also, faced with sudden and unexpected danger, some of us tend to freeze, to not want to admit how serious the risk is, and to try to pretend its not going to happen HERE.
Not insanity and not a death wish.


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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-01-13

I know personally some of the Australian shrinks who would be involved in his sort of disaster, as well as others in this field.
Generally, as you suggest, most of us are remarkably resilient on such occasions, and concentrate on surviving and saving what you can of your belongings. The more there is a sense of community spirit and sharing the problems and solutions, the better.
How we anticipate we MIGHT handle such events is unreliable - some of us certain we would crumble turn out to be heroes, an som of those confidence of their abilities, dont cope at all. Those who are sure they would and should cope, usually handle it very badly if faced with a situation where they can't cope.
There will surely be some PTSD, but probably not as much as you might expect. Where there was unpleasant problems and inconvenience but not direct and real threat to life, there are less lasting psychological problems ; similar where there are opportunities to effectively do SOMETHING about it all or to help others.
Why do people stay when maybwe they ought to go to greater safety ? Human nature. We don't like warnings, and aren't convinced they should applu to US rather than those guys further up the road. And of course there can be realistic concerns, both a lack of knowing where to go and where you could stay, and a concern that someone might rob and loot your home or business while you were away. Also, faced with sudden and unexpected danger, some of us tend to freeze, to not want to admit how serious the risk is, and to try to pretend its not going to happen HERE.
Not insanity and not a death wish.


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