There have been many traumatic events in recent years that have made headline news across the country including acts of terrorism, violence, and natural disasters. While many watch from the comfort of their own homes, many others are in the thick of it all, helping to clean up in the aftermath of the crisis.


Unexpected events, including the recent Hurricane Sandy on the east coast, often involve extended periods of chaos and a lot of heartbreak. Brave individuals take on roles that can be very stressful as they try to help others survive the situation. As a result, emergency workers and volunteers often succumb to the emotional strains even long after they have finished their work. It is very important to know when you are over your own limits and do what you need to do to protect your own health and welfare and that of your loved ones.


Know the Warning Signs

There are several signs that you may need to seek the guidance of a medical professional to ensure your own mental health. Here are some of the potential signs and symptoms you should not ignore.


Behavioral Issues – People under tremendous stress often begin to lack motivation and experience a lot of fatigue. They may become reliant on drugs or alcohol to cope with their feelings. Acting out and blaming others for situations and problems.


Emotional Issues – Feelings of irritability or mood swings are possible. There may be episodes or consistent anxiety, crying, or the inability to concentrate. Strong feelings of anger or guilt are also signs you should not ignore.


Physical Issues – Along with the emotional toll stress and depression can have on individuals, the body may also show signs of stress. Common physical issues may include stomach pain, headaches, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and feeling tense. Chronic fatigue may also be a factor.