Dealing with Traumatic Events – NBC 6 South Florida

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The images of the Surfside building collapse and the aftermath can be traumatic to anyone.

Dr. Barry University’s Lauren Shure, a licensed psychologist and professor, gave an outlook on what it’s like to experience a traumatic event like the collapse of a condominium.

“I can imagine that we will see a number of people who will be afraid to step into even a skyscraper,” she said.

Dr. Shure added that these were normal and natural responses to such tragedy.

“Feelings of desperation, depression, anger, and fear are just some of the emotions victims and family members can experience, but also first responders and even those who just watch on TV or social media,” she said.

“There is a phenomenon called vicarious trauma or secondary trauma that can happen,” said Dr. Shure.

Dr. Shure said the first symptoms of trauma are not necessarily post-traumatic stress disorder, which has a set of criteria that must appear for at least a month before it is diagnosed.

The way someone handles a traumatic event at this point can predict whether they will later develop PTSD.

“The sooner you address the trauma, process it, and work through it, the better the prognosis, the less likely it is to develop PTSD,” she said.

There are several ways to deal with trauma other than speaking to a counselor.

“Some people might want to journal, maybe dance, or just do some strenuous exercise,” said Dr. Shure. “I mean, there are different ways of doing yoga, there are different ways that people can process trauma.”

She said it was important to remember that we are not alone in our grief. For assistance, call the National 24/7 Support Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.