A natural catastrophe, such as the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that occurred in Mexico, not only endangers the physical integrity of the population, but also has severe psychological effects. Changes in mood following a phenomenon such as this affect self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and productivity. <span title=”A esto se le conoce como estrés post-traumático y suele reflejarse horas o días después de un evento como un terremoto.
“>This is known as post-traumatic stress and is often reflected hours or days after an event such as an earthquake.
The effects of the earthquake may be even more serious for people who also lived the earthquake of 1985. “The brain has an impressive memory and a situation can trigger anxiety about experiences that happened a long time ago,” said Verne Daniela Soto, a psychologist in charge Hospital of Emotions in 2016. “With many people who lived the earthquake of 85, their anxiety levels go to heaven when they hear the seismic alarm. <span title=”Me atrevería a decir que la mayoría de los mexicanos que vivieron ese evento no han trabajado su estrés postraumático en terapia”.
“>I would venture to say that most Mexicans who lived at that event have not worked their post-traumatic stress in therapy. ”
<span title=”Francisco Martínez León, jefe del programa de atención psicológica a distancia de la UNAM explica a Verne los tres síntomas más comunes que se experimentan después de un terremoto.
“>Francisco Martínez León, head of the UNAM’s remote psychological care program explains to Verne the three most common symptoms experienced after an earthquake.
1. Hypersensitivity to the environment. “Any movement that seemed to us normal before, now it seems to us that it is an earthquake or we have the constant sensation of movement,” Martinez says. <span title=”“Esto no es un acto consciente, pero estamos prestando atención a cosas que normalmente no nos causan impresión”, indica.
“>”This is not a conscious act, but we are paying attention to things that normally do not make us feel,” he says.
2. Exacerbated anxiety. This is manifested in several physical signs, such as difficulty in achieving or maintaining sleep, irritability or anger, difficulty concentrating and exaggerated responses of startle. <span title=”“La ansiedad después de un sismo nos trae muchos signos físicos que son más evidentes cuando hay rigidez muscular, dolores de cabeza e insomnio prolongado”, dice el especialista.
“>”Anxiety after an earthquake brings us many physical signs that are more evident when there is muscle stiffness, headaches and prolonged insomnia,” says the specialist.
3. Constant thoughts of desolation. Although it is normal to have uncertainty following an earthquake of this nature, persistent thoughts of desolation and sadness are indicative of acute stress. “You are constantly thinking about what is going to happen or what is going to be of one in the possibility of a replica, and you have constant memories of the event,” Martinez says.
<span title=”¿Cómo puedes tratar los síntomas?
“>How can you treat the symptoms?
These signs of stress can be considered normal up to two weeks after a catastrophic event, although they should be treated with psychological first aid, as a brief therapy or with talks with friends about how they feel and how they can help. <span title=”“Lo más importante es que la persona se sienta segura con su entorno, por lo que es recomendable que tome terapias a distancia o asista con un especialista”, dice.
“>”The most important thing is that the person feels safe with their environment, so it is advisable to take therapies from a distance or to attend a specialist,” he says.
Martinez gives some recommendations that can be carried out at home. “Listening to soft music, painting, doing mild physical activity that does not involve going out into the street, avoid having contact with the images of landslides after the earthquake and having talks with friends about how they feel is important,” he says. <span title=”Además, preparar y tener a la mano kits de emergencia, puede ayudar a la persona a sentirse más segura ante una eventualidad, por lo que se recomienda tener las pertenencias más importantes en orden.
“>In addition, preparing and having emergency kits on hand can help the person feel more confident about an eventuality, so it is recommended to have the most important belongings in order.
Crying for the first two weeks is a normal symptom, according to the psychologist, but care should be taken that the episodes are not frequent, because in that case it is about the beginnings of depression, which must be treated differently. On the other hand, even if there is insomnia and headache the person should not self-medicate, but go to the doctor to follow up.