2023/06/23
Share via

The recent series of earthquakes that hit Turkey and northwest Syria has left thousands of victims feeling emotionally distressed, helpless, and hopeless. 

The psychological traumas that follow natural disasters need mental care assistance that many internally displaced and refugee Syrians have no access to. 

Therefore, at Bonyan Organization, we provide those victims with their basic needs, phycological assistance, and medical care.

How do people react emotionally to earthquakes: Assessing the aftermath

Usually, 15% of earthquake victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Particularly, survivors of earthquakes who lost loved ones, homes, and possessions can show symptoms of severe grief. 

Therefore, apart from PTSD, natural disasters such as earthquakes can cause other psychological disorders, including:

  1. Anxiety.
  1. Depression. 
  1. Distress reaction.
  1. Alteration of emotion recognition.
  1. Withdrawal.
  1. Poor concentration.
  1. Mood swings.

In addition, emotions such as hopelessness, emptiness, a sense of despair, and feelings of frustration overwhelm victims and survivors of earthquakes.

Psychological Responses to Earthquakes
Psychological Responses to Earthquakes 3

Factors that influence emotional responses to disasters

There are many factors that affect the emotional response to disasters. These include:

Wealth: Poor people are more vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes because they would not be able to acquire the required resources to afford to rebuild their houses.

Education:  Education is key to providing people with the awareness they need to avoid or reduce the mental and emotional toll of the disaster. 

Governance: Some governments employ policies with the aim of reducing the hazards and alleviating the emotional consequences of earthquakes

However, some governments can fall short of setting such policies because they lack the necessary resources and means.

Technology: Technological advances allow for weather forecasting, which paves the way for disaster risk reduction

Age: Children and the elderly are more emotionally, mentally, and physically vulnerable than other age groups because of their weak immune systems.

Gender: Women are usually more vulnerable to disaster hazards because they are less educated and poorer.

The devastating impact of earthquakes on mental health

Earthquakes can have a devastating effect on mental health, causing severe emotional responses that include sleep disorders, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and more. 

Long-term influence of emotional impact and absence of mental care access to those affected might result in several social issues. These include:

  1. Societal dysfunction.
  1. Violence.
  1. Increased family conflicts.
  1. Aggression.
  1. Suicidal thoughts.

Coping with earthquake anxiety

Coping with emotional distress following exposure to earthquakes is never easy. 

Nevertheless, experts and psychologists suggest guidelines that earthquake victims and survivors can practice to reduce anxiety during earthquakes. 

  • Acceptance of the natural emotions that follow earthquakes.
  • Recognition that you are in control of the situation.
  • Avoiding catastrophic thoughts.
  • Staying informed by following official sources.
  • Finding a safe place.

Meanwhile, after an earthquake, some guidelines that victims and survivors can adopt include:

  • Venting and talking about their feelings and emotions.
  • Avoiding information overload.
  • Spending time with family and friends.
  • Doing activities that help clear the mind.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Doing physical exercises.

Managing shock and disbelief after an earthquake

There are some tips that you can follow to help those emotionally and mentally affected by the earthquake. 

These tips include:

  1. Listen carefully to the thoughts and feelings of the victims.
  1. Spend quality time with the victims and survivors.
  1. Offer assistance to those victims when needed, even if they did not ask for help.
  1. If those victims show anger or any negative emotional responses, do not take it personally.
  1. Give victims the help they need in case they exhibit any suicidal thoughts.
Psychological Responses to Earthquakes
Psychological Responses to Earthquakes 4

Children’s behavioral consequences after an earthquake

Following a natural disaster or catastrophe, children may experience many negative emotions. Such emotions include:

  1. Anxiety.
  1. Fear.
  1. Anger outbursts.
  1. Foggy brain and difficulty concentrating. 
  1. Irritability.
  1. Sadness.
  1. Sleep disruptions.
  1. Distressing dreams.

At Bonyan Organization, we spare no effort to help victims and survivors of the latest series of earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria. 

According to the UN, nearly 11 million Syrians were affected, and 11,000 Syrian families are now displaced in Northwest Syria.

Although those victims are now experiencing an overwhelming emotional toll, they are left with no access to mental care.

Help us to provide them with the mental assistance they need to overcome their fears and psychological issues in order to lead a normal life again.

Resources 

FAQ

What are the psychological effects of earthquakes?

The psychological effects of earthquakes include:
Anxiety.
PTSD.
Depression. 
Distress reaction.
Alteration of emotion recognition.
Withdrawal.
Poor concentration.
Mood swings.

How can I cope with the emotional distress of the aftermath of an earthquake?

One can cope with the emotional distress of the earthquake through the following techniques:
-Talking about their feelings and emotions.
-Avoiding information overload.
-Spending time with family and friends.
-Doing activities that help clear the mind.
-Practicing relaxation techniques.
-Doing physical exercises.

How do people feel emotionally about earthquakes?

Following an earthquake, people feel emotionally distressed. They also experience intense feelings of grief, sadness, loss, panic, and more. 

What are the examples of the psychological effect of a natural disaster?

Examples of psychological effects of a natural disaster include experiencing suicidal thoughts and depression.