PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Just watching the coverage, with so many people suffering, is stressful even for people who aren’t directly in Harvey’s path. Experts say living through that kind of a disaster is physically and emotionally taxing.
Thalia Castro, 18, along with her 1-year-old son and three nieces and nephews were rescued and airlifted to safety.
“It was scary,” she recalled. “The scariest part was whenever I was just swinging in the air.”
Disasters like Hurricane Harvey can take an emotional toll on victims.
Research shows most recover but others can suffer psychological disorders like post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
“I’m looking for anyone who is tearful, who is having panic attacks, who is looking anxious, nervous,” Dr. Sophia Banu, a psychiatrist at the Baylor College of Medicine said.
A team of psychiatrists are in Houston trying to help people cope with the trauma.
They’ve set up a table at the Convention Center for evacuees who may need a refill on their medication or someone.
“We want to make sure that there’s somebody here for them to hear their stories to make them feel safe and process what they have been through,” Dr. Banu explained.
Common reactions and responses to disaster include intense or unpredictable feelings, changes in thoughts and behavior, and physical symptoms from stress like headaches, nausea and chest pain, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Castro says she coping as best she can but she didn’t sleep the first night at the center.
“The hardest part I would say is not being with my family — being here by myself — because I don’t feel safe here,” she explained.
Castro is hoping to relocate with relatives soon so they can start rebuilding their lives.
Psychiatrists say its important for parents to monitor their children following any disaster and check for signs that they may be having trouble coping. Signs to watch for, in kids include: if they become more moody, anxious, unable to sleep and restlessness.
Children can have a hard time not understanding what’s happening.