Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

CNHI News Service Originals

July 11, 2011

Three suicides, other mental issues tied to Joplin tornado



The state has also provided $2million to estalbish the Joplin Child Trauma Treatment Center for children and families affected by the tornado.

Dr. Charles Graves, a psychiatrist at Freeman Hospital, said he is especially concerned with the community's children.

"Some may refuse to return to school," he said. "Some may have persistent fears related to the catastrophe, including sleep disturbances, nightmares, bed wetting, changes in the way they concentrate, and irritability. Some will be easily startled or spooked. Some will have behavioral problems where none were before."

Graves said these are normal reactions in children "but when it persists for a month or longer, when the symptoms impair function, what's when you call things a disorder. That's when you need therapeutic intervention."

Both children and adults can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after a tornado as ravaging as the one that wiped out one-third of Joplin, said Graves.

"PTSD is not a diagnosis that is only associated with war," he said. "It very readily can occur after an event of this magnitude. (Victims) have flashbacks, intrusive memories of nightmares. They may feel like it's happening to them again."


Details for this story were provided by the Joplin, Mo., Globe.

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