Seeking help after disaster: Warning signs to watch for

RENO, NV (KOLO) Following a traumatic or disastrous event such as the Argenta Hall explosion at UNR, the majority of people recover naturally, but for some it may be more challenging. Dr. Buddy Coard of Renown Health says it's important to seek mental and behavioral help sooner rather than later.

"People end up getting like a startle response easier, they also tend to have difficulties with sleeping, some intrusive thoughts about their safety," Coard says.

Coard says about 90 percent of people are able to recover naturally within a couple of weeks but he says there are warning signs like trouble sleeping that mean you should seek help.

"If you can't or you're not sleeping, your body doesn't have this natural recovery process. And so encouraging people to engage in good sleep hygiene, even if they have to use medication to help them fall asleep, those first few days, if people manage sleep, they get better naturally," he says.

He also says if you're having increased anxiety to get help as soon as possible.

"The memories that they're having result in anxiety level, so I remember where I was when this happened and my heart starts racing, I get shortness of breath. Those are indicators that you're not moving through this normal process of recovery," Coard says.

He says another key indicator that someone needs help is if there are increased expressions of avoidance.

"In this intermediate time, like between 30 days, if you're feeling like you're starting to avoid, I would encourage you to go back to the place that it happened. Because there's a level of mastery if you can go back there and you don't have that same level of anxiety you're learning from that situation and that's a good thing," Coard says.

There are several services available to those who need counseling. You can reach the Crisis Call Hotline at 775-784-8090 and for counseling services on the UNR campus call 775-784-4648.

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