Understanding Stress and Substance Abuse
Researchers have long recognized the strong correlation between stress and substance abuse, particularly in prompting relapse. Although exposure to stress is a common occurrence for many of us,it is also one of the most powerful triggers for relapse to substance abuse in addicted individuals - even after long periods of abstinence. People can experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - a diagnosable psychiatric disorder and a known risk factor for substance abuse and addiction - following direct or indirect exposure to severe traumatic events, such as war or natural disasters.
Below is a listing of resources that can be used to gain a stronger understanding of the issue of PTSD and secondary trauma in both adults and children.
Children & Youth
Sesame Street Hurricane Toolkit - Hurricanes, storms, and other natural disasters can be difficult for young children who may not fully understand what's going on around them. These tips, activities, and videos can help them feel safe, cope with emotions, and understand that there is hope for the future.
Adults, Caregivers, and Teachers
HITE is a free online resource directory for mental health services and other community resources. Click Social Services, then enter address for services in your neighborhood
National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Guidance for Staff: Support students who are suffering from loss or grief
Office of Emergency Management Disaster Mental Health Support Call Center: 347 396 7952
1-800-LIFENET: Toll-free and confidential Mental Health Information and Referral Line with access to Mobile Crisis Team. Staffed by trained Social Workers 24 hours, 7 days per week, 365 days per year
Prepare Today Cope Better Tomorrow, Stress During Disasters: A guide for reducing stress during disasters
Talking to Children about Hurricane Sandy - Guidance for Teachers
Resources to Help Schools Support Students and their Families
www.DisasterAssistance.gov provides the support resources below which are designed specifically for children, from those promoting mental health to ensuring children stay enrolled in school even if they have evacuated to a new school.
Tips for Talking to Children After a Disaster: A Guide for Parents and Teachers - provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, this brochure discusses talking to preschool, early childhood, and adolescent children about the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster.
Helping Children Cope with Disaster - produced by FEMA and the Red Cross and provided by Federal Citizen Information Center, this fact sheet discusses a child's reaction to disaster by age.
After the Storm: Information for Parents on How Schools Can Help After Disasters -Children do not lose their right to attend school when a disaster strikes. The National Center for Homeless Education has prepared a brochure about how to enroll in school even if you don't have any paperwork and have been displaced due to a disaster.
The American School Counselor Association has gathered a number of resources to help you work with students during this time. Perhaps most important to keep in mind, are these tips for helping children in terms of crisis and stress:
- Try and keep routines as normal as possible. Kids gain security from the predictability of routine, including attending school.
- Limit exposure to television and the news. Be honest with kids and share with them as much information as they are developmentally able to handle.
- Listen to kids' fears and concerns.
- Reassure kids that the world is a good place to be, but sometimes bad things happen.
- Parents and adults need to first deal with and assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
- Rebuild and reaffirm attachments and relationships.
Bereavement and Grief Counseling
Grief Counseling Resource Guide: A Field Manual. This manual has been developed as a guide for those who encounter individuals reaching to trauma related grief reactions in the course of their outreach work.
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