Harvey, holidays and mental health


It’s months past the storm and some have yet to recover.

With the holidays here, people might be turning to alcohol or drugs even more with the reality of problems rebuilding, buying gifts and in general spending extra money.

Licensed Psychologist Debbie Graham says it could go either way...being more stressful if you're not in your home, bring more sadness or trauma.

On the flipside, they could be so distracted with the all the rush of the holidays.

“We survived this major trauma and all that stuff is just stuff—perhaps they may look at it a little bit differently,” said Graham.

She said research shows exercise is better than any medicine to help you. Meditation is also helpful.

“So, what happens when we get stressed or anxious, heart rate goes up, breathing rate goes up. Those things always go together,” said Graham.

Some people have yet to get back to normal from Hurricane Harvey, then add the whole holiday stress.

UT Health's Dr. Madhavi Reddy said be in tune to yourself and loved ones.

“People are starting to feel a little more emotional than usual, a little more fearful, if it’s really interfering with their ability to get done what they need to get done, I think that’s sort of the rule of thumb,” said Reddy.

She said pay attention if you’re getting better or worse, and don't put a time frame on your healing.

“People shouldn’t compare themselves with others in terms of ‘oh this person had it worse’. We need to be allowed to feel how we feel and it’s ok to get help,” said Reddy.

She said, continue to notice if you're getting enough rest and your concentration isn't straying, or if you keep thinking about the storm.

Reach out and get help if it's interfering with your day to day life. Even though it's the holidays, watch out if you're drinking more than usual. Reddy added that it’s instrumental to have social support to talk things out.


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