Coping with the stress of cleaning up, starting over after floods

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - As time goes on, the average person is going to adapt," said Dr. Hestand.

Adapt to weeks, months, maybe even years of recovering from historic flooding--whether it's cleaning up or starting over.

"There are some factors that might affect someone in having a more serious response emotionally or psychologically," said Dr. Hestand.

Like having to be rescued from flood waters rather than willfully leaving or losing a loved one during the situation.

"All sorts of things may contribute to a person just feeling completely overwhelmed at this point," said Dr. Hestand.

At ASU's Counseling Center, Dr. Phil Hestand says it's important for people to be able to see a future and realize things won't always feel so out of control.

Dr. Hestand says recognition of need is a first step in helping to cope. Signs you may need to seek professional help  include overwhelming anxiety, recurring nightmares, not being able to get your mind off traumatic images or the situation, and abnormally short tempered.

Dr. Hestand does say most people will not experience something as severe as post traumatic stress disorder as a result.  In fact, he says some people will even look back and find some positives.

"Every sunset is a little more important, a little prettier. Moments are precious and I'm going to live my life to the fullest from here on out.   Because I went through that event, it realigned my perspective on what's important to me,"said Dr. Hestand.

Dr. Hestand says places like the Red Cross and other agencies do have mental health professionals available, perhaps even at some shelters, so seeking one of those professionals, or talking to a leader at your church, could help people cope.  He adds, remember that children are watching how adults react during this situation as well.

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