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How Will Sandy Hit First Responders?

Megan Lynch @MLynchOnAir
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Hurricane Sandy Strengthens

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LIBERTY, Mo. (KMOX) – No one knows yet how severely Hurricane Sandy will impact communities on the East Coast, or the men and women who will be rushing to their aid.

Therapist Theresa Hubbard says like soldiers, first responders can experience traumatic stress.

Hubbard says sometimes the hard part is getting them to realize it.  “They want to be strong and hold it together and feel like they should be able to handle this.”

But Hubbard says the the emotional stress of witnessing terrible things can take it’s toll.  “When we have repeated significant exposure to trauma, the part of our brain that is our survival part, that keeps us alive, becomes more active and so we have a heightened awareness.”  And that she says can leave a person unable to relax, triggering insomnia, nightmares, anxiety or even numbing emotions.

Hubbard says sometimes reaction to a tramautic event is delayed.  She says she recently counseled a first responder from 9/11 who started suffering traumatic stress symptoms a decade later.

Hubbard and a colleague offer counseling and retreats tailored to first responders.  Click here for a link to her website.

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