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Natural Disasters, PTSD, and Depression

PTSD and Depression Following a Natural Disaster

The United States has recently been struck by a great deal of natural disasters, leaving thousands in need of aide, not only physically but mentally as well. Hurricane Harvey resulted in at least 72,000 needing rescue leaving 30,000 people without shelter, and sadly taking the lives of at least 80 people.a) More recently, Hurricane Irma took the power from 6 million people and was the cause for more than a dozen deaths in the Southern region, including at least seven in Florida and at least 35 people in the Caribbean.b) Furthermore, Hurricane Irma has affected 6.1% of the populace, making it the 10th-most catastrophic natural disaster in US history by this measure. That makes Irma's effects even greater than Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey.c)

Long after the water recedes, homes are rebuilt, the news stations will move on to other topics, but one thing will continue to linger silently; and that's the mental and emotional effects on the survivors. These events can cause trauma to those whose entire lives have been forever changed as a result. Trauma, as defined by the American Psychological Association d)is "an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster."

People who live through such trauma can sometimes develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) defined by the National Center for PTSD e) as - "a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. "

“Although humans rarely die from trauma, if we do not resolve it, our lives can be severely diminished by its effects. Some people have even described this situation as a “living death.”
- Peter A. Levine, PHD


  • Panic Attacks
  • Flashbacks or nightmares
  • Avoidance - Avoiding places or thoughts that remind one of the experience
  • Sweating or a racing heartbeat
  • Headaches, chills, or shortness of breath

It's important to realize that PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. Typically, it will begin soon after the trauma, but sometimes does not develop for months or even years. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, TMS can help. Click here to learn more about our PTSD treatment options.


It is not uncommon for PTSD to develop into depression once extreme symptoms linger for a long period of time after the event. In fact, reports show that depression is nearly 3 to 5 times more likely in those with PTSD, than those without.f) It is this depression that interferes with one's ability to function normally in society, often causing strain on a person's job and relationships.


  • Prolonged sadness
  • Feelings of guilt, regret, or unworthiness
  • Extreme irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns: whether difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide or self harm
  • Changes in appetite or weight: such as binge eating, or not eating enough
  • Physical symptoms like headaches or aches and pains



Depression is not something to be ashamed of, as it is something that nearly 20 million Americans suffer from. As there are many medicinal treatments for Depression, TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) has proven to be a superior alternative to medications. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD and/or depression, contact TMS today to schedule a consultation. It's time for a new hope.


  1. CNN
  2. USA Today
  3. Business Insider
  4. American Psychological Association
  5. National Center for PTSD
  6. National Center for PTSD - Depression