Therapist explains emotional toll of hurricane survivors

Therapist explains emotional toll of hurricane survivors

We all have been watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and waited with bated breath for Irma's turn into Florida.

Now comes the hard part for survivors, the aftermath. In August, a video of a Hurricane Harvey survivor and mother went viral showing her share her story of making it through the hurricane with a reporter.

She was visibly and understandably distraught. But, when the reporter asked for more insight into the mother's ordeal, the woman's emotional state escalated. She verbally lashed out at the reporter.

Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services Clinical Therapist Ted Crawford watched the video and said the reporter's questions may have caused the woman to relive traumatizing moments.

"Any situation where you feel like your life is in danger or your loved ones lives are in danger is trauma," Crawford said.

Crawford has counseled people for 18 years and said surviving natural disasters takes an emotional toll, because there's the question of "what now?"

"Uncertainty makes stressful situations that much more stressful, because you don't know what's gonna happen and we have a hard time dealing with uncertainty," Crawford said.

He explained there are three ways people can respond to trauma.

"There's fight, flight and freeze, and some people freeze," Crawford said. "They are sort of in shock they are just overwhelmed."

Then he said there are the people that can get through it, take of business and break down later.

"Then, there are others that may kind of lose it, so to speak, in the middle of the crisis," Crawford said.

Crawford explained once the individual is ready, talking is a key trauma recovery.

"Talk about it," Crawford said. "Talk about what it was like, what they were thinking in their head, what they were feeling about that time. You know, sharing stories."

Crawford said sharing may help survivors gain what the storm took: peace of mind.

To learn more about Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services visit the website