La Crosse, WI -- Federal and state disaster relief officials are encouraging victims of the recent floods and severe storms to be alert for signs of stress.
Losing a home, business, or personal property to disaster takes a financial toll on victims. But the emotional toll a disaster exacts can be devastating, too. A victim's emotional recovery also needs to be addressed.
Because disasters change their environment it is normal for people to feel stress and they should be on the look out for stress related problems.
Common stress related reactions to a disaster might include: irritability, depression, anger, feelings of isolation, sleeping disturbances, fatigue or withdrawal. Physical symptoms often include muscle soreness, headaches, weakness, increased cold or flu symptoms or breathing difficulties.
Residents are encouraged to talk to family members, clergy or a professional counselor about how they are feeling and responding to the unusual demands that this disaster may have caused. It is important that those who have been impacted by flooding give themselves permission to deal with the stress. Frequently, relying upon your existing support system is an effective way of managing the stress.
There are also professional mental health counselors available in the area to help residents deal with the feelings resulting from the experience. County agencies in the affected areas provide mental health services for citizens and can be contacted at the following numbers:
Officials want people to remember that the stress they feel from the coping with the flooding and storms is normal and that there are several places to get help.