Major Psychology Of Disaster Concepts Applied To The Disasters

Major Psychology Of Disaster Concepts Applied To The Disasters


TOC o “1-3” h z u Rescue stage PAGEREF _Toc381073465 h 1Inventory stage PAGEREF _Toc381073466 h 1Acute and Post –Traumatic stress disorders PAGEREF _Toc381073467 h 2Post-traumatic depression PAGEREF _Toc381073468 h 2Reconstruction stage PAGEREF _Toc381073469 h 2Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc381073470 h 3

The psychological concepts or the effects of a disaster can manifest immediately or long after the event. Understanding the Impacts is a very crucial aspect of the psychological preparedness. How the victims in the scenario cope has an impact on the response to the disaster and the efforts that will be put in the recovery process. It is therefore very important for the emergency planners to understand how the psychological health is affected by the disasters (Gant, 2011). The psychological impact of the two disasters Katrina and Lusitania can be conceptualized in three these are;

Rescue stageThe first few hours or even days after the disaster, search and rescue activities continue as the relief efforts are initiated. The relief activities that are involved include; situation stabilization, providing the survivors with provisions, tending to their needs in terms of health, shelter and other needs. During this period the people at the scene may exhibit some symptoms this include, psychological numbing this involves the people being dazed and confused. They can exhibit a superficial calmness or feel as though what they are experiencing is unreal, as if the event is not really happening. There may be heightened arousal, there would be a feeling of intense fear, and the people may be easily startled or have experiences of physiological arousal such as heart pounding and muscle tension. There may feel anxiety over a feeling of separation from their loved ones. The survivors can also have a conflict over nurturance of the occurrence of the disaster (Guterman, 2005). They can distance themselves emotionally as they feel they do not understand why they went through such a disaster. An example in the hurricane Katrina disaster was how the victims appeared ravaged and in distress as they made attempts to flee the scene. Most of them were already in an unstable state of life and this event came with lots of confusion and increased the unstable states. Therefore the rescue and relief workers should be briefed on the behaviors’ that they should expect to encounter at a disaster scene.

For instance during the Lusitanian disaster the passengers were frightened as they made attempts to push off some of the boats on the port side off the ship and get them to the water. Some watched in disbelief as the women and children in the boats that had been launched caught the rail and subsided. Those still on the ship also watched in distress as the boats that had been set out leaked when they reached the water and many people drowned.

Inventory stageSome of the survivors of the disasters can experience trauma even long after the occurrence of the incident. After the disaster the victims will asses the reality of the situation they are in following g the occurrence of the disaster and the consequences that will be lasting. During this time they may begin to experience symptoms that are characteristic of Acute and post-Traumatic stress disorders, general anxiety disorders and post traumatic depression. They can also be phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. For instance both survivors of Lusitania and hurricane Katrina will develop phobias that are related to water. These survivors of Lusitania will have the fear of travelling in large vessels and those of the hurricane will have a fear of storms even if they encounter even a slight storm. It can also be said that the victims who survived the Lusitania disaster feared explosions even the slightest of them and the smell of burning oil that they encountered they never got over it. The psychopathy that the victims will develop after disasters include;

Acute and Post –Traumatic stress disordersThe survivors will develop some symptoms that are related to these disoders.this include re-experiencing some of the events that took place in the day of the disaster. They can have flashbacks or even intrusive images that are related to the disastrous event. For example the survivors of both Katrina and Lusitania can have frequent flashbacks and images of the day of the disaster and they can appear as real as though they are taking place at that very moment in their thoughts (Guterman, 2005) .The survivors can also develop dissociative symptoms such as derealization, depersonalization, and even dissociative amnesia. They can get depressed and have difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep and even lack concentration. They can have an impaired functioning for instance impairment in their social, occupation or even problems in sleep. This for instance in the case of the Lusitania disaster, the survivors who lost their family members for instance the men who saw their women and children drowning in the boats that had been used to make attempts of saving them. This picture would remain vividly in the memory of these survivors since they could offer no help whatsoever to the affected. In the case of hurricane Katrina the survivors mostly are people who were already struggling to survive in the area and the occurrence of this made them loose all they had been trying to build up for themselves. This was very traumatizing to them since they saw all they had been trying to work toward been destroyed as they watched and could do practically nothing.

Post-traumatic depressionThis is the prolonged depression after the disastrous event has symptoms include slowness in movement, fatigue, energy loss, irritability, lack of concentration and sadness. These traumatic events serve as a reminder to the survivors of their mortality that may lead to negative thought and rumination.

Reconstruction stageA year or so after the occurrence of a disastrous event the emphasis is now on the maintenance of a stable pattern of life among the survivors. They may continue to exhibit symptoms that have been described in the inventory stage. The survivors have to realize that they have to continue with life and the grief and anger that they have is eventually replaced by acceptance (Gant, 2011). For instance in the case of hurricane Katrina the survivors learn to accept that they lost their property and homes and now have to live with the fact that they have to sought new homes and start new life’s. Those who have survived will therefore solve their problems and just rebuild their life’s that were shattered during the disaster. This process will continue for a long period of time as the new state of living is reestablished gradually. In the case of hurricane Katrina, the large number of people that were displaced, those who were rendered homeless and the overall trauma that was experienced by the survivors requires a lot of mental health monitoring for years ahead. An example was the support of young people in New Orleans an organization known as covenant house dealt with the mental health challenges of the young people in the area. There was also an initiative by volunteers to build a new play ground that would restore children’s laughter in the neighborhood after the traumatizing events of the hurricane. The victims of hurricane Katrina still receive charitable contributions of medicines, emergency relief even years on after the occurrence of the disaster this is a clear indication that reconstruction takes a lot of time.

ConclusionThe two disasters involve some concepts in the psychology of the victims and survivors. This concepts have fully been discussed and they need to be greatly understood so that they can be used incase of future disaster situation. This can help in better understanding and managing this situtuations.this include the way the survivors will be helped and in the path of their recovery. Therefore understanding these concepts to be applied in disasters is a very important point.


Guterman, P. (2005). Psychological preparedness for disaster.

Gant, P. G., & Gantt, R. (2011). Disaster Psychology. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from

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