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Health: Coping With Emotions Following Boston Marathon Explosions

stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Emotions are high across the U.S. in the wake of the Boston bombings. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is here with more on coping in the aftermath.

The fear factor is what millions of Americans are dealing with following the terrorist attack. Experts say many people are grappling with all sorts of complicated feelings that could linger. Many Americans are angry and anxious, feeling vulnerable in the aftermath of the Boston bombings.

“I think it is the sense of general unease. Of, ‘I don’t know what to expect next, I don’t know exactly how I’m supposed to run my life,’” said Dr. Steven Berkowitz, a psychiatrist with Penn Medicine.

He says the bloody terrorist attack at such a big public gathering can leave people struggling with feelings of helplessness.

“The best way to cope — and this has been shown time and time again — is really by coming together and supporting each other,” said Dr. Berkowitz.

Talk about your feelings, don’t keep things bottled up and limit exposure to all the coverage, especially for children. They can feel especially vulnerable in times of crisis. Parents should be calm and honest, and on the lookout for warning signs that their children may be struggling.

“Irritability, clinginess from younger kids — even older kids — and sleep disturbance,” said Dr. Berkowitz.

Experts say emotional reactions to the attack may last for a couple of weeks. If they don’t go away and interfere with you or your child’s life then you may want to talk to a doctor.

For National Child Traumatic Stress Network Terrorism Resources For Parents, visit: www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/terrorism

For the Disaster Distress Helpline, visit: http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov

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