Concerns for PTSD a year after Superstorm Sandy

Dr. Jay Adlersberg has the story
October 25, 2013 1:54:18 PM PDT
The anniversary of Superstorm Sandy is enough to bring up buried memories of the disaster. But there's help at hand.

The storm was such a negative emotional event that post traumatic stress disorder may be the result now a year later. It's important for the storm's victims to be aware that the memories can create PTSD symptoms, and that there's someone to reach out to.

Many people in this neighborhood had it rough with Sandy, but Ashley Hilton is visiting a client whose home is over six feet below street level.

This was the scene that greeted Francisco Carillo a few days after the storm.

"I took a deep breath and said my god, everything is gone, my mother's pictures, my father's pictures, my daughter's pictures," he said.

But with caseworker Ashley's help, Mr. Carrillo now has his home back.

Because the damage was not to his family, he's less impacted by the storm than some who were personally traumatized. Those who have gotten back to normality now may be affected one year later.

"Many of the reactions that happened in the immediate aftermath may occur again and they may not expect that," said Tara Hughes with the American Red Cross.

Storm-related memories can create Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"They may have trouble sleeping, may be irritable may be irritable with their children," adds Hughes.

Which caseworkers and visiting nurses now can help them cope with.

Affected children may get into fights at school as a sign of PTSD. Parents can help.

Even a year after the hurricane, some things are still in disrepair and that's leading to a sense of frustration in the neighborhood.

Something disaster workers can cope with, to "try and help them understand that the processes do take a while and that its normal in disasters for things to take some time," adds Hilton.

Here are 3 resources for those in need of counseling:
LINK: Mental Health Association of NYC

LINK: NEW JERSEY HOPE AND HEALING or call 877-294-help (4357)

Contact Project Hope, New York office. Call 1-800-lifenet to connect with a project hope provider agency in your community. Lifenet is a free, confidential helpline available 24/7 with trained staff ready to take your calls: 1-800-543-3638 (english), 1-877-298-3373 (spanish), 1-877-990-8585 (chinese).