Trauma and its Effects on Mental Health

The recent disastrous cylone and floods in Queensland have had a huge impact, not only on those in their pathway, but also on those who have been looking on in disbelief.  There’s an enormous amount of work to be done to bring the state back into normal operation and we are being told it could take years.  But what about the people?  They will have various reactions to their ordeal, but when will they return to normal every day life?  We know that people who live through wars, cyclones, bushfires and the like are prone to becoming mentally ill with posttraumatic stress disorder.  Will flood-affected people suffer mental health issues? 

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Emotional Reactions

Just who is responsible for our emotional reactions?   “He made me upset.”  “She made me cry.”  “They all make me so very angry.”  We often directly attribute our distress to the actions of someone else, or to external circumstances, such as the decisions of politicians, society in general, or even the weather. In our minds it is a direct cause and effect – their actions or these events caused my emotions. However, in reality there is actually another step in between. Let’s look at the following scenario (which by the way is totally hypothetical and definitely not recommended). [Read more…]