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article imageKatrina Anniversary Affects Mentally Ill, Event a Joke for Others

By Carol Forsloff     Aug 4, 2009 in Health
The mentally ill of Hurricane Katrina continue to struggle with memories of the flood that devastated the Southeastern Coast of the United States just four years ago. Still some people found time to scoff.
Today a story in the Washington Times addresses the problems the mentally ill continue to deal with daily.
The story in the Times discusses one woman who continues to have serious nightmares. She experiences flashbacks, described as especially poignant. The newspaper talks of one mental health technician, Adam Graff, who had to demonstrate concretely with his hands the “floodwater” being pushed away from the woman’s face who frantically still saw the brown water rushing over her body as she cried for help. She was reassured, then taken to University hospital.
These are reports that continue to come out of New Orleans and other cities of Louisiana as the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches. It is often on the anniversaries of particularly devastating events that folks with post-traumatic stress disorder become particularly distressed.
While some people consider four years enough time for people to recover from the trauma of Hurricane Katrina, experts who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder recognize that for a certain percentage of people dealing with the after-effects of serious devastation can be a lifelong battle. That’s particularly true for those with pre-existing conditions, as the story in the Times discusses. It doesn’t just affect those who have actually lived through an event. Helpers can be traumatized. Folks are further traumatized by the fact many people can’t believe victims continue to have symptoms or who make fun of the events in pictures, words and song.
How long will we read these stories? Likely for many years, just as research points out, because for some people the trauma, especially on an anniversary, will be as if the event just occurred. In the meantime, what was met with compassion by some, is the stuff of jokes for others, adding to the grief many people continue to experience. One particular video, done to the tune "The Battle of New Orleans" continues to make the rounds with television footage not of rescues, innocent people hurting, and good people working hard to survive and rebuild but the worst of the moments, as many people still recall of the time. But it is those who lived through the floods, or who helped the victims, who continue to suffer as the news of today reports.
More about Hurricane Katrina, Mentally ill, New orleans
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