Lee County Info & Recovery

From all of us at iHeartMedia, our hearts go out to those affected by the violent tornado in Lee County, Alabama Sunday, March 3rd. Below are resources and information regarding all of the ongoing recovery efforts.

Please send any additional information to VanRiggs@iheartmedia.com.

1) Resources and Major Updates

*IF YOU HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE TORNADOES AND HAVE NEEDS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN MET WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU! PLEASE CALL 211 WHICH IS A COMPONENT OF UNITED WAY AND REGISTER. 211 IS ASSISTING US WITH MATCHING YOUR NEEDS WITH THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE. WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU DURING THE RECOVERY PROCESS.

GENERAL RESOURCES:

HOW TO DONATE/VOLUNTEER:

  • Public Safety, Fire and other affiliated volunteers (if you have not been requested by a Lee County response agency): Please call 211 to register before deploying to Lee County. Indicate your role and ability. Someone from Lee County will contact you and establish your staging area and on scene contact. Please do not self-deploy Out of State volunteers must go through your State EMA of residence for assignment to a requested mission.
  • Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/iheartalabama-pub.html/
  • Unaffiliated Volunteer Registration Process: Call 211 to register. Let 211 know what type of volunteer work you can do. Lee County has established 2 Volunteer Reception Centers. You will be given a quick safety class, personal protective equipment (ppe) and assigned to assist a citizen that has registered their need with 211. Busses will deliver you to your worksite and pick you up.

Volunteers for Beauregard Community

  • If you would like to volunteer in the Beauregard Community, please contact Jeremy Jones at (334) 749-8161 / Monday through Friday 8 AM - 4:30 PM CST

Volunteers for Smiths Station Community

  • If you would like to volunteer in the Smiths Station Community, please come to the Volunteer Reception Center at Smiths Station City Hall (2336 Lee Road 430) / Monday through Friday, 9 AM - 4 PM EST

Volunteers Needed for The Warehouse

  • If you would like to volunteer in The Warehouse, please come by 309 Williamson Avenue in Opelika / open everyday, 8 AM - 5 PM CST

FOOD/SUPPLIES NEEDS:

  • 2-1-1: If you are a survivor of the tornado outbreak last Sunday and you have a need that has not been met. PLEASE call 211.

DONATIONS NEEDED

Drop-off at The Warehouse, open 7 days a week from 8 AM - 5 PM CST

  • Blow dryers
  • Ironing boards & irons
  • Small appliances: toasters, toaster ovens, coffee pots
  • Can openers, flatware, plates, bowls
  • New towels and washcloths
  • New pillows
  • New full & queen sized sheets

If you have furniture to donate for Lee County Tornado Victims, please contact Johnny Langley at (334) 749-8161 / Monday through Friday, 8 AM - 4:30 PM CST

Drop-Off Locations

  • The Warehouse: 309 Williamson Avenue Opelika, AL 36801/ Mon-Sunday 8 AM-5 PM
  • Longs Warehouse: 15691 US Highway 280 Smiths Station, AL/ Wed-Fri 9 AM-Noon EDT

Distribution for Disaster Victims

  • Mt. Moriah 7th Day Adventist: 1207 18th Ave in Phenix City / Monday & Tuesday 9 AM - 5 PM, Wednesday 10 AM - 7 PM, Saturday 10 AM - 2 PM
  • Phenix City 7th Day Adventist: 4016 US Hwy 80 West / Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 10 AM - 1 PM, Saturday 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Union Grove Baptist Church: 4009 Lee Road 391 in Opelika, AL / Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9 AM - 3 PM & 5 - 7 PM, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 9 AM - 3 PM
  • St. Ellis Full Gospel Church: 5267 US 80 in Opelika, AL / Tuesday & Thursday 1 - 6 PM, Sunday 9 AM - 2 PM
  • Nazareth Baptist Church: 4454 Lee Road 166 in Opelika, AL / Monday - Saturday 8 AM - 5 PM
  • Smiths Station Fire Station 1: 50 Lee Road 430 in Smiths Station / Monday - Saturday 8 AM - 5 PM

 

2) FEMA Info

One Week to Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The deadline to apply for federal disaster assistance in Lee County is May 6, after several tornadoes tore into eastern Alabama, including an EF-4 storm that churned across the county on March 3. If survivors have filed a claim with their insurance company and discovered that they still have unmet needs, they are encouraged to apply for federal disaster assistance.

A whole community approach to recovery in the county continues with FEMA, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Lee County government, SBA and a very active and engaged local non-profit and faith-based community. Survivors interested in applying for FEMA disaster assistance, SBA disaster assistance, or other types of federal disaster assistance have until May 6 to apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at calling 800-621-3362; TTY 800-462-7585.

As of April 25, 2019

  • $1.1 million has been approved by FEMA’s Individuals and Households program, providing awards for rental assistance, home repairs, and the repair or replacement of essential personal property.
  • The Small Business Administration has approved almost $2.3 million in low interest disaster loans to businesses, homeowners and renters.

After the May 6 deadline to apply for federal disaster assistance, applicants can still keep in touch with FEMA by phone at 800-621-3362 or online at DisasterAssistance.gov.

To update information survivors must provide their nine-digit registration number listed on all correspondence to FEMA.

Those seeking a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan should complete the application as soon as possible by going to:

FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during and after a disaster.

For official information on the recovery efforts, please visit FEMA at www.fema.gov or the Alabama Emergency Management Agency at https://ema.alabama.gov/. On social media follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FEMA/

Stay In Touch with FEMA

FEMA assistance is designed to meet an applicant’s disaster-related serious needs and necessary expenses to begin his or her recovery process. It is important for survivors to keep FEMA informed of any changes to their circumstances.

Homeowners and renters who registered for FEMA disaster assistance following the March 3 tornadoes should notify FEMA of changes to their mailing address, phone number, email address and any other critical information.

If they discover additional damage after a FEMA inspection or receive an insurance settlement, or if they disagree with the determination letter they received, let FEMA know.

Survivors can stay in touch by:

  • Visiting DisasterAssistance.gov
  • Calling 800-621-3362; TTY 800-462-7585 (Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362.) The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
  • Downloading the FEMA mobile app.
  • Talking face-to-face with a specialist at any disaster recovery center (DRC) location. Go to fema.gov/DRC for locations and hours of operation of DRCs.

Survivors who update their information must provide their nine-digit registration number listed on all correspondence from FEMA.

Those seeking a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan should complete the application as soon as possible.

To apply for an SBA loan:

  • Go online to Disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
  • Call SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at: 800-659-2955, TTY 800-877-8339 or Video Relay Service (VRS) 800-659-295

What to Expect After Applying for Disaster Assistance

Lee County survivors of the March 3 severe storms and tornadoes should file a claim with their insurance company immediately and begin cleaning up. Disaster damage should be documented through photos/videos, and all receipts for disaster-related purchases should be kept.

If you have uninsured or underinsured losses from the storms, contact FEMA for disaster assistance by visiting disasterassistance.gov or calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

If disaster-related damage is insured, FEMA may not send a home inspector right away. You’ll need to submit insurance documentation to show your coverage doesn’t meet your disaster-related needs or you have exhausted the Additional Living Expenses provided by the insurance company. FEMA cannot pay for damage covered by insurance or duplicate benefits from another source.

If you register for disaster assistance,a home inspector may contact you to schedule an appointment seven to 10 days after registration. During that call, write down:

  • The inspector's name.
  • Date of call.
  • Date and time of appointment.
  • Inspector’s telephone number.

The inspection generally takes 30 to 40 minutes and consists of looking at disaster-damaged areas of your home and reviewing your records. Inspectors can only verify your loss. They do not decide the outcome of your application for disaster assistance nor condemn property. FEMA inspects damaged property for disaster-recovery program purposes only. Inspectors will never ask for money.

The inspector will ask to see:

  • Photo identification.
  • Proof of ownership/occupancy of damaged residence such as homeowners insurance, a tax bill, mortgage-payment book or utility bill.
  • Insurance documents: home and/or auto (structural insurance/auto declaration sheet).
  • List of household occupants living in residence at time of disaster.
  • Disaster-related damage to both real and personal property.

What to Expect After Applying for Disaster Assistance

Your inspector will have FEMA identification in the form of a badge with a photo. If the inspector does not show you photo identification, do not proceed with the inspection.

You may receive a visit from more than one inspector during the recovery process. In addition to FEMA-contracted housing inspectors, representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as state and local officials may also visit neighborhoods in affected areas.

Survivors should receive a determination letter with their eligibility decision and the reason for it by regular mail or email, typically within seven to 10 days after the inspection.

For those who are eligible, the letter states the dollar amount of the grant and how the money must be used. If you disagree with FEMA’s decision, the letter explains how you can appeal the decision.

Read your determination letter carefully. FEMA may need additional information or documentation from you—such as an insurance settlement showing you may not have been covered for all your essential needs—before you can be reconsidered for federal assistance.

If you have any questions, you can always contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Find more details about the FEMA inspection process by visiting www.fema.gov/what-happens-inspection.

FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

SBA Closes Disaster Loan Outreach Center in Lee County

April 10, 2019 - The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that due to a steady decrease of activity, the Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) in Lee County, Alabama will cease operations on Friday, April 12 at the close of business.

Businesses, homeowners and renters that sustained physical losses or economic injury due to severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on March 3, 2019 are encouraged to visit the Center and submit an SBA disaster loan application before it closes. SBA representatives at the DLOC can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and help in completing the SBA application. The Center is located as indicated below.

Lee County

Southern Union State Community College

Technical Building 7, 1st Floor, Classroom 5

301 Lake Condy Road Opelika, AL 36801

Hours: Weekdays, 8 AM – 5 PM

Closing: Friday, April 12 at 5 PM

The disaster declaration covers Lee County in Alabama which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Chambers, Macon, Russell and Tallapoosa in Alabama, and Harris and Muskogee in Georgia.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at Disasterloan.sba.gov.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Applications and program information are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov.

SBA Approves Over $1 Million for Alabama Residents; Apply for Disaster Loans for Physical Losses Before the May 6th Deadline

April 1, 2019 - The U. S. Small Business Administration has approved 21 disaster loans totaling $1,023,300 to Alabama residents with losses resulting from severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on March 3, 2019. SBA is encouraging businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations,homeowners and renters to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for disaster assistance for their physical losses before the May 6, 2019 deadline

There are three convenient ways to apply:

(1) Visit the Disaster Loan Outreach Center

.

SBA representatives at the Center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and help businesses in completing the SBA application, (2) Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov or (3) Request a paper loan application by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.

SBA’s disaster loans for physical losses provide funds to repair and replace structures, machinery,equipment, inventory, household goods, vehicles and cover debris removal and landscaping costs and even insurance deductibles. These loans have interest rates as low as:4 percent for businesses,2.75 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 2.063 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.

The disaster declaration covers Lee County in Alabama which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Chambers, Macon, Russell and Tallapoosa in Alabama, and Harris and Muscogee in Georgia.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

SBA’s Disaster Loan Outreach Center is located and operates as indicated below:

Lee County

Southern Union Community College

Technical Building 1, 1st Floor - Classroom 5

301 Lake Condy Road

Opelika, AL 36801

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 Am - 5 PM

Closed: Saturdays & Sundays

Additional details on the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339) for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. For more information about SBA recovery assistance, visit www.sba.gov.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is May 6, 2019. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Dec. 5, 2019.

FEMA Updates

As of close of business Wednesday, March 13 , FEMA Individuals and Households Assistance Program has received 471 registrations and approved $658,606 in grants.

The Lee County Bar Association will provide free legal advice for tornado survivors 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, March 15, at Providence Baptist Church/West Campus Children’s Building, 2807 Lee Road 166, Opelika, AL 36804. For more information email the association at Leecountyalabamabar@gmail.com

Lee County tornado survivors may call a toll-free legal aid hotline 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 800-354-6154. Survivors from other counties may call Alabama Legal Services at 866-456-4995.

Understanding a FEMA Determination Letter

•After registering for disaster assistance, you may receive a determination letter by mail or email from FEMA. Read your determination letter carefully to understand your eligibility for federal assistance.

•The most common explanation is the need to provide FEMA with a copy of a letter verifying your insurance coverage before FEMA can process your grant application. Other reasons may include :

o The applicant did not sign the required documents.

o The applicant did not prove occupancy or ownership.

o The applicant’s identity may not have been verified.

o The damage is not to the primary residence, but to a secondary home or a rental property.

o Another member of the household may have applied and received assistance.

o The applicant’s disaster-related losses could not be verified.

o The damage caused by the current disaster has not made the home unsafe to live in. The home is still safe, sanitary and functional.

o The applicant indicated on the application that he/she did not want to move while the damaged home was being repaired. This made the applicant ineligible for FEMA initial rental assistance. However, the applicant may have found further damage to the home and now has to move.

Get in touch with FEMA to provide more information or missing documentation by calling

the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585).

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

•People who live in or worked in Lee County and became unemployed due to the severe weather March 3 may be eligible for assistance under the Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

•Eligible applicants include those who no longer have a job, are unable to reach their place of employment or were scheduled to start work in the Lee County and the job no longer exists; those who became the breadwinner or major support of the family because the head of household died; or those who cannot work because of an injury that incurred during the major disaster. All of the previously described circumstances must be as a direct result of the storms. Self-employed individuals must provide a copy of their 2018 income tax records.

•Claims can be filed through ADOL’s website at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382. The deadline to file a DUA claim for Lee County is April 5, 2019.

Disaster Legal Service

•Provides free, confidential legal services adequate to meet disaster-related needs for low-income individuals.

•Types of disaster legal assistance:

o Help with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills, loss of property, loss of life, etc.;

o Drawing up new wills and other legal papers lost in the disaster;

o Help with repair contracts and contractors;

o Advice on problem landlords;

o Estate administration, including guardianships and conservatorships;

o Consumer protection matter;

o Preparing a Power of Attorney

IRS Tax Relief

•The IRS is offering relief to Lee County residents.The relief postpones various tax-filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting March 3, 2019. Affected individuals and businesses will have until July 31, 2019, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes individual income tax returns and payments normally due April 15, 2019.

•Eligible taxpayers will have until July 31, 2019, to make 2018 IRA contributions.

Myths & Rumors about FEMA Assistance

Myth: FEMA assistance could affect my Social Security benefits, taxes, food stamps or Medicaid.

Fact: FEMA assistance does not affect benefits from other federal programs and is not considered taxable income by the IRS.

Myth: I can’t get FEMA help since I have insurance.

Fact: While FEMA, by law, cannot duplicate insurance benefits, many homeowners find they were underinsured for their losses and should apply to see if they qualify for assistance.

Myth: I'm a renter. I thought FEMA assistance was only for homeowners for home repairs.

Fact: FEMA assistance is not just for homeowners. FEMA may provide assistance to help renters who lost personal property or who were displaced.

Myth: I don't want to apply for help because others had more damage; they need the help more than I.

Fact: FEMA has enough funding to assist all eligible survivors who have suffered losses because of the March 3 tornadoes.

Myth: I didn't apply for help because I don't want a loan.

Fact: FEMA grants do not have to be paid back. The grants may cover expenses for temporary housing, home repairs, replacement of damaged personal property and other disaster-related needs such as medical, dental or transportation costs not covered by insurance or other programs.

Rumor: If there are other family members or roommates living with me, FEMA isn’t going to give them any help.

Fact: FEMA is committed to giving each individual survivor all the help for which he or she is eligible. FEMA evaluates the needs of all eligible survivors on a case-by-case basis. Be sure to tell FEMA about the needs of all members of your household whether they are related to one another or not. Call the FEMA helpline at 800-321-3362 if you need to update your registration or have questions about the needs of any members of your household.

Rumor: Receiving a letter from FEMA stating the applicant is not eligible means the person will not get any assistance.

Fact: Not necessarily. Receiving such a letter does not always mean an applicant is not eligible for disaster aid, even when the letter states “ineligible” or “incomplete.” Such a letter can simply be an indication that further information is needed, or that the applicant’s insurance claim needs to be settled before disaster aid can be granted. Call the FEMA help line, 800-621-3362, or visit your nearest Disaster Recovery Center with questions.

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FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

3) 21 Things You Can Do While Your Living Through A Traumatic Event - Courtesy of American Behavioral

  1. Take immediate action to ensure your physical safety and the safety of others. If it's possible, remove yourself from the event/scene in order to avoid further traumatic exposure.
  2. Address your acute medical needs (e.g., If you're having difficulty breathing, experiencing chest pains or palpitations, seek immediate medical attention).
  3. Find a safe place that offers shelter, water, food and sanitation.
  4. Become aware of how the event is affecting you (i.e., your feelings, thoughts, actions and your physical and spiritual reactions).
  5. Know that your reactions are normal responses to an abnormal event. You are not "losing it" or "going crazy".
  6. Speak with your physician or healthcare provider and make him/her aware of what has happened to you.
  7. Be aware of how you're holding-up when there are children around you. Children will take their cues from the adults around them.
  8. Try to obtain information. Knowing the facts about what has happened will help you to keep functioning.
  9. If possible, surround yourself with family and loved ones. Realize that the event is likely affecting them, too.
  10. Tell your story. And, allow yourself to feel. It's okay not to be okay during a traumatic experience.
  11. You may experience a desire to withdraw and isolate, causing a strain on significant others. Resist the urge to shut down and retreat into your own world.
  12. Traumatic stress may compromise your ability to think clearly. If you find it difficult to concentrate when someone is speaking to you, focus on the specific words they are saying and work to actively listen. Slow down the conversation and try repeating what you have just heard.
  13. Don't make important decisions when you're feeling overwhelmed. Allow trusted family members or friends to assist you with necessary decision-making.
  14. If stress is causing you to react physically, use controlled breathing techniques to stabilize yourself. Take a slow deep breath by inhaling through your nose, hold your breath for 5 seconds and then exhale through your mouth. Upon exhalation, think the words "relax", "let go", or "I'm handling this". Repeat this process several times.
  15. Realize that repetitive thinking and sleep difficulties are normal reactions. Don't fight the sleep difficulty. Try the following: Eliminate caffeine for 4 hours prior to your bedtime, create the best sleep environment you can, consider taking a few moments before turning out the lights to write down your thoughts thus emptying your mind.
  16. Give yourself permission to rest, relax and engage in non-threatening activity. Read, listen to music, consider taking a warm bath, etc.
  17. Physical exercise may help to dissipate the stress energy that has been generated by your experience. Take a walk, ride a bike, or swim.
  18. Create a journal. Writing about your experience may help to expose yourself to painful thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, enable you to assimilate your experience.
  19. If you find that your experience is too powerful, allow yourself the advantage of professional and/or spiritual guidance, support and education.
  20. Try to maintain your schedule. Traumatic events will disrupt the sense of normalcy. We are all creatures of habit. By maintaining our routines, we can maintain a sense of control at a time when circumstances may lead us to feel a loss of control.
  21. Crises present opportunities. Cultivate a mission and purpose. Seize the energy from your experience and use it to propel you to set realistic goals, make decisions and take action.

American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress © 2018

To contact American Behavioral, your Employee Assistance Program, call 800-925-5327.

4) Coping With A Traumatic Event - Courtesy of American Behavioral

  • What Is a Traumatic Event?
  • Most everyone has been through a stressful event in his or her life. When the event, or series of events, causes a lot of stress, it is called a traumatic event. Traumatic events are marked by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death. Traumatic events affect survivors, rescue workers, and the friends and relatives of victims who have been involved. They may also have an impact on people who have seen the event either firsthand or on television.
  • What Are Some Common Responses?
  • A person’s response to a traumatic event may vary. Responses include feelings of fear, grief, and depression. Physical and behavioral responses include nausea, dizziness, changes in appetite and sleep pattern, and withdrawal from daily activities. Responses to trauma can last for weeks to months before people start to feel normal again.
  • Most people report feeling better within three months after a traumatic event. If the problems become worse or last longer than one month after the event, the person may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • What Is PTSD?
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of the event that last for many weeks or months after the traumatic event. The symptoms of PTSD fall into three broad types: re-living, avoidance, and increased arousal.
  • Symptoms of re-living include flashbacks, nightmares, and extreme emotional and physical reactions to reminders of the event. Emotional reactions can include feeling guilty, extreme fear of harm, and numbing of emotions. Physical reactions can include uncontrollable shaking, chills or heart palpitations, and tension headaches.
  • Symptoms of avoidance include staying away from activities, places, thoughts, or feelings related to the trauma or feeling detached or estranged from others.
  • Symptoms of increased arousal include being overly alert or easily startled, difficulty sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger, and lack of concentration.
  • Other symptoms linked with PTSD include: panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings, drug abuse, feelings of being estranged and isolated, and not being able to complete daily tasks.
  • What Can You Do for Yourself?
  • There are many things you can do to cope with traumatic events:
  • Understand that your symptoms may be normal, especially right after the trauma.
  • Keep to your usual routine.
  • Take the time to resolve day-to-day conflicts, so they do not add to your stress.
  • Do not shy away from situations, people, and places that remind you of the trauma.
  • Find ways to relax and be kind to yourself.
  • Turn to family, friends, and clergy for support and talk about your experiences and feelings with them.
  • Participate in leisure and recreational activities.
  • Recognize that you cannot control everything.
  • Recognize the need for trained help, and call a local mental health center.
  • What Can You Do for Your Child?
  • Children may struggle with a traumatic event in ways very similar to adults. Knowing what you can do to help a child recover is important when helping him/her rediscover a sense of normalcy. Try these steps:
  • Let your child know that it is okay to feel upset when something bad or scary happens.
  • Encourage your child to express feelings and thoughts without making judgments.
  • Return to daily routines.
  • When Should You Contact Your Doctor or Mental Health Professional?
  • About half of those with PTSD recover within three months without treatment. Sometimes symptoms do not go away on their own or they last for more than three months. This may happen because of the severity of the event, direct exposure to the traumatic event, seriousness of the threat to life, the number of times an event happened, a history of past trauma, and psychological problems before the event.
  • You may need to consider seeking professional help if your symptoms affect your relationship with your family and friends, or affect your job. If you suspect that you or someone you know has PTSD, talk with a health care provider or call your local mental health clinic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ©2018

To contact American Behavioral, your Employee Assistance Program, call 800-925-5327.

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