Critically evaluate the psychological effects of natural disasters

Critically evaluate the psychological effects of natural disasters

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The effects of natural disasters are often measured by a handful of numbers: the number of people killed and injured, the number of houses and buildings destroyed, the cost of cleaning and repairs. Usually, the emotional wounds left by survivors are not accounted for. Natural disasters can be overwhelming and potentially blameworthy life experiences. People directly affected by natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey, can suffer serious injuries or near death. they can witness the destruction of their friends, family, neighbors, and larger communities; and they may experience irreparable loss of property and qualities. For those who have direct effects, the immediate consequences of the disaster can be confusing, marked transfers, shock and a strong need to restore order. In the weeks and months following the disaster, various tasks related to restoring “new natural”, sometimes new homes and new properties, can be undertaken. For some people, it may not be obvious that all the effects of disasters and their effects on mental health are weeks or months after the disaster.

Hellmich (2013) states that just after natural disasters, the first reaction is usually a combination of shock and denial. This can sometimes make it difficult to take the necessary steps to start collecting items – call for insurance, assess what assets have been lost and even find temporary housing. But the shock tends to give way to much stronger emotions that can happen days, weeks or months after the disaster.
The home is a place that most people spend their entire lives believing is a place for safety and refuge. But when a thunderstorm spreads around your home, security can come out of the window. People who have survived storms may experience nightmares, anxiety, extreme worries about storm security or obsessive preparation to prevent the next disaster. Uncertainty can be particularly evident in children who may experience constant insecurity (Pearson, 2013).
Heavy stress is common after a storm. But when it is sustained for months, it can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Rossi, n.d). People with PTSD may experience backlash in the storm, hives, high unbalanced reactions, persistence in avoiding things reminiscent of the storm and anxiety and depression. PTSD can also interfere with a person’s ability to control emotions, such as anger or crying.
PTSD is not the only long-term consequence of surviving natural disasters. In people who are already suffering from mental illness, trauma can cause symptoms. And for others, natural disasters can lead to depression, high stress, general anxiety, eating and eating problems, obsession and a host of other problems. Sometimes these problems arise because of a person’s attempt to control the environment after a storm takes over. Surviving storms are not the only people to suffer when natural disasters occur. People on the scene when the storm is or is witnessing its consequences immediately – including first responders such as the police and firefighters as well as the media – may also experience psychological symptoms. They could be lured by people who couldn’t save, pictures of injured people, or the immense nature of the destruction. Some witnesses may even feel a sense of conscience that someone else’s house or life was destroyed, not theirs. Symptoms of witnesses and first responders are often the same, including PTSD, depression and other mental health conditions, and people present after a storm may need as much help and support as the victims (Hellmich, 2013).
Maintaining relationships with others after the disaster can be a cure for individuals and the community (Pearson, 2013). Avoiding isolation and increasing social support is an important part of building resilience. In addition, it can be key to promoting health and well-being during difficult times, although it can be difficult or painful for some, though taking time for self-treatment such as eating regularly, sleeping and exercising. During times of acute stress or anxiety, deep breathing exercises, diary entries, walking and talking with other support staff can be of significant importance.
Fortunately, individuals and communities often show tremendous resilience after traumatic events such as natural disasters and most can recover after some time. However, it is important to bear in mind that a relative minority of individuals may experience long-term psychological distress that lasts for the first month or more following a disaster. Because potential shocks in life, such as disasters, can be a serious stressful life, people can develop numerous psychological disorders as a result. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety disorders or substance use are common conditions associated with severe life stress and / or traumas. Effective and effective treatments for each of these conditions are available from suppliers in the UH community.

In addition, victims need not have been affected by the disaster psychologically. For example, someone who lived in San Francisco with relatives in Haiti at the time of the recent earthquake would have endured hours of television coverage as well as being unable to get information about their own family. Such situations can affect someone emotionally, even remotely. It is very important in the case of natural disasters that the victim be given time to heal and go through appropriate grief processes. Only by working from experience over a realistic period is healing possible.

Hellmich, N. (2013, May 21). Kids who survived tornado face emotional after-effects. USA Today. Retrieved from
Pearson, C. (2013, May 21). Oklahoma tornado PTSD: How survivors are coping. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from
Rossi, B. (n.d.). The psychological aftermath of the Oklahoma tornados. WSJ This Morning RSS. Retrieved from


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