How Major Disasters Impact Our Mental Health

Whether you’ve been caught up in a major disaster yourself or not, there’s no denying the adverse effects they can have on our mental health and wellness. Dealing with stress, loss, and a range of emotions can be taxing on us in different ways, and some individuals who live through such events may even develop long-lasting conditions. Today, let’s take a look at some ways a major disaster can affect our mental health.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD involves being mentally haunted by flashbacks and nightmares causing you to relive specific events, such as a disaster. There is also a combination of emotions such as sadness, fear, or even anger tied to PTSD, and they aren’t easily controlled. With the memory of a horrible event lingering in this way, it’s possible that there will be an increased strain on specific relationships and less of a desire to do certain things. Even accidental touches or loud noises can be unnerving and impose adverse reactions to PTSD sufferers.



If you lose your home or, worse still, someone important to you in a major disaster, it’s all too easy for depression to set in. Coping with the loss of property, loved ones, employment, or otherwise can result in feelings of hopelessness and even despair. It can feel impossible to move on with your life, especially if you don’t seek professional treatment to help restore your outlook on life.


Substance Abuse

Whether regretting not acting faster or trying to bury the anger associated with losing someone, substance abuse is an easily accessible problem that plagues many survivors of major disasters. Whether drugs, alcohol, or otherwise, it’s a genuine issue and one that requires expert help to overcome. It can be extremely dangerous to try to quit on your own, especially when isolated, lonely, and overwhelmed with emotional stress.  


Survivor’s Guilt

When faced with an event resulting in loss of people or property, we often tend to blame and take it out on ourselves. If enduring a disaster that others don’t survive, we may feel guilty or regretful. Much like PTSD, this guilt can haunt and detract from our ability to recover mentally. Sometimes, it can fuel other negative coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or domestic violence due to a loss of control.

When rebuilding after a disaster of any kind, we need to focus on rebuilding ourselves as well. There are many ways such events can leave a lasting negative impression on us mentally, and it’s all too easy to develop a range of complex conditions or harmful ways of coping. Always be sure to seek out therapy and treatment to keep you on the road to recovery — there’s no shame in it.

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