Spotting PTSD in loved ones - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Spotting PTSD in loved ones

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- During the holidays some family and friends of tornado and flood victims may discover their loved ones are not their usual selves. It could be that they are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

"It's like you lost. You had a death in your family. That's what if feels like. That's, I think, the grieving that you go through," said Jo Stock. She survived the Parkersburg tornado but lost her home and nearly everything in it.

As she and her husband move into their new Waterloo home, jo is thanking God this holiday season.

"I am very thankful that God put us in the right spot in that house because we were in a tiny little area, the three of us," said Stock. "That is the only area that did not collapse or blow away."

Local social workers say tornado and flood surivors are still transitioning and coping.

"A big wind coming up can cause someone to have a cue, 'Oh my gosh! That's what happened before the storm'," said Carollyn Hartsfield, a psychiatrist at Covenant Clinic.

Hartsfield volunteered for the Red Cross after the may tornado. She says months later post traumatic stress disorder may be the culprit when people can't sleep, are anxious or on edge and seem depressed.

The Stocks have not sought professional help and, finally, their emotional state is improving.

"The nightmares aren't as frequent anymore as they used to be, so I think better," said Stock.

But Hartsfield says if things don't get better try to accept the reality and talk about it.

"We have to try to deal with the reality that this is going to be a different Christmas, doesn't mean it has to be a bad one. It's gonna be different."

And though it's been tough, survivors like jo have accepted that change can be good.

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