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15 March 2011

Tsunami trauma: rescuers and survivors

Disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan can haunt not only the survivors for years, but also the rescue workers.

The horrifying earthquake and tsunami in Japan, will haunt not only survivors for years, but also rescue workers. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and other aid workers are streaming to Japan in an effort to assist in whatever way they can.

How the disorder arises

  • Have experienced, witnessed or were confronted with a traumatic event that involved the threat of death or serious injury to themselves or others, causing them to respond with intense fear, helplessness or horror.
  • Persistently re-experience the event through intrusive thoughts, dreams, acting or feeling as if the event were reoccurring, and/or intense distress and emotion when exposed to cues that symbolise or resemble the event.
  • Avoid stimuli associated with the event and attempt to numb their general responsiveness by avoiding thoughts, feelings, conversation, activities, places or people associated with the trauma.
  • Are unable to recall important aspects of the trauma and loss of interest in participating in activities.
  • Feel detached from others, have a restricted range of emotions and are often unable to have loving relationships.
  • Feel little hope for their future.
  • Experience symptoms of increased emotional stimulation such as difficulty sleeping, irritability or angry outbursts, difficulty concentrating and exaggerated or startled responses.

 
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