June 3rd, 2020

// America’s PTSD Pandemic ̶ Why COVID Survivors Are At Risk

America's PTSD Pandemic  ̶  Why COVID Survivors Are At Risk 

New York, NY, June 2, 2020  ̶  "Most disasters are finite. They have a beginning and an end. The world's tallest buildings collapsed in minutes; mass shootings take a few seconds, but the event ends and we start picking up the pieces," explains disaster stress expert Laurie Nadel, Ph.D. "COVID is like a fog that lightens and darkens and permeates everything, but never completely goes away. The fear and uncertainty of this reality are heightened for people who are still physically recovering from the virus."

In June 2019, 44 million Americans reported having PTSD, according to the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Nadel expects a new wave of PTSD to flare up from September through October, six months after the start of lockdown. The threat of a second lockdown, the fear of contagion for someone who has already been infected once, and loss of work/income will trigger feelings of horror and helplessness, along with flashbacks, phobias and hypervigilance … waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

Dr. Laurie shares Emotional First Aid Tools which she developed specifically for disasters to calm the mind and balance the brain in times of stress; they’re particularly helpful when people are agitated by sudden acute stress or troubling symptoms or situations. In her book, The Five Gifts, she shares 5 spiritual gifts that leaders, including Jacinda Ardern, George W. Bush and Gov. DeWine, have implored fellow citizens to cultivate as we persevere through COVID. They are:

Patience: Recovery takes longer than anticipated, so survivors must be patient with themselves, doctors, and family who think it's all in their head.

Humility: We must come to accept that in the grand scheme of life, we have no control.

Forgiveness: Survivors must let go of survivor guilt; forgive themselves for possibly unknowingly infecting others, and forgive others who refuse to wear masks or say "It's just the flu."

Empathy: We must have empathy for ourselves and others.

Growth: People need tools to remain psychologically resilient so that post-traumatic stress is channeled into post-traumatic growth

"We cannot go back," says Dr. Laurie. "The future is a question mark that beckons us forward. These five gifts are found in many cultures. They serve to open the way for us to take the next step with courage, resilience, and hope."

About the Author:
 

Laurie Nadel, PhD., is an expert on disaster, mental health and climate change. She has been interviewed in The New York Times, on National Public Radio, Reuters and CNN.com. A specialist in acute stress, she is a member of a critical incident stress management team working with first responders. After losing her home to Hurricane Sandy, she ran long-term support groups for survivors and directed a program for teenagers whose fathers were killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

A journalist for 20 years, Laurie Nadel reported for Newsweek and United Press International in South America, wrote TV news for CBS, ABC News and Reuters Television, and was a religion columnist for The New York Times' Long Island section. She also helped create the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization which since 1981 has fought for the rights of journalists around the world. For more, please visit: www.laurienadel.com or drlaurienadel@msn.com.

The Five Gifts: Discovering Healing, Hope and Strength When Disaster Strikes

Available at: https://www.amazon.com/Five-Gifts-Discovering-Strength-Disaster/ dp/0757320449/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=The+Five+Gifts&qid=1585317914&sr=8-2 or wherever books are sold.

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