Is Psychological Normalization Possible After Earthquake?

Is Psychological Normalization Possible After Earthquake?
Is Psychological Normalization Possible After Earthquake?

📩 04/03/2023 12:46

Üsküdar University Founding Rector, Psychiatrist Prof. Dr. Nevzat Tarhan evaluated the importance of post-earthquake normalization. Emphasizing the importance of normalization after traumatic events, especially natural disasters such as earthquakes, Psychiatrist Prof. Dr. Nevzat Tarhan drew attention to the importance of gaining problem-solving skills.

Noting that it is necessary to define the problem first and then determine possible solutions, Tarhan said, “Then it is necessary to make a decision and proceed on that solution path. You must not go back over and over. Instead of saying I'm ruined, I'm dead, I'm done, it is necessary to practice this. Pain, difficulties, troubles are part of growing up. At the end of these, growth is already emerging. For him, the worst enemy here is to be pessimistic.” said.

Noting that the most important point after natural disasters such as earthquakes is to meet the basic needs, Prof. Dr. Nevzat Tarhan said, “First of all, basic needs such as food, drink and shelter should be met. After their basic needs are met, this post-traumatic recovery and return to normal is easier. Therefore, if the basic needs are met, it is necessary to talk about post-traumatic recovery and returning to normal.” he said.

“Disaster management planning should be done”

Tarhan pointed out the importance of a disaster management plan regarding what should be done before and after the disaster and said, “There are plans for disaster management in the literature on disasters, what to do before, during and after the disaster. It is important that these plans are made by the relevant institutions and then these plans are implemented gradually. According to this plan, there should be a disaster response plan, a recovery plan in the second stage after the disaster, and a reconstruction plan in the third stage. used the phrases.

“We saw that lessons need to be learned”

Stressing that the necessary lessons should be learned about the outcome after the Kahramanmaraş-centered earthquakes that stifled the whole country, Tarhan said:

“We have seen all this, we need to learn some lessons. Before an earthquake, a standard, a policy should be established. Deficiencies related to this should be completed. If there is confidence that the deficiencies will be corrected, it is easy for people to recover after the disaster. After this disaster, we need to review our daily, sudden decision, the feeling that nothing will happen to us, and this culture.”

Stating that especially for the expected Istanbul earthquake, not only the administrators but also the society have responsibilities, Tarhan said, “Making a plan primarily by the institutions and the announcement of this plan creates the basic feeling of trust in people. For this plan to be implemented, the society must accept it. The society also needs to give feedback on this issue. Let's not just expect it from the managers, we all need to be sensitive about this issue.” said.

“Everyone has a different way of coping”

Expressing that after disasters, traumatic and shock experiences, everyone has a coping method according to their personality structure, cultural values ​​and local culture. Dr. Nevzat Tarhan said:

“In Western societies, especially in the USA, among the veterans coming with this war trauma, the most post-traumatic cases become alcohol addicts. In other words, it is seen that alcohol addiction is developed at a rate of one third among these soldiers, that is, alcohol use is used as a coping method. It's not that common with us. Another coping method is avoidance behavior. In other words, never talking about earthquake-related issues, never getting into these issues, that is, ignoring them in a way. This is not realistic either. The behavior of avoiding the facts of life when he appears in front of him, when he thinks about it or when he asks about the child is not very healthy either.”

“Third coping method mental shelter”

Pointing out that the third coping method is third generation psychotherapies, Tarhan said that this is a very common religious coping method in our society.

Noting that people take refuge in beliefs and high values ​​in situations such as natural disasters, where they cannot control and are not strong enough, Tarhan said, “Third generation psychotherapies have 12 steps. One of them is to take refuge in a higher power, a higher will, in situations that one cannot control or change. That is, to have a mental shelter. An event has happened. This is not only a disaster such as an earthquake, but also a great sense of anger and revenge in unexpected events such as a traffic accident. That grudge, anger, feeling of revenge is not something to be carried for a lifetime.” he said.

Expressing that one should accept this, Tarhan said, 'I have to experience this, so this will come my way in my life line' and focus on how to manage it. So one has to prepare for the worst-case scenario and wait for the best-case scenario. Mindfulness suggests this: Prepare for the worst-case scenario, but wait for the best-case scenario. Have a mental plan, a scenario of what you will do if the same thing happens to me again. After that, wait for the good, don't wait for the bad scenario. Take your precautions, prepare for winter, wait for summer. These are very beautiful teachings of Anatolian wisdom. In mindfulness, the person is taught the techniques related to this.” said.

“Problem solving skills must be acquired”

Stressing the importance of gaining problem-solving skills, Tarhan made the following evaluations:

“It is important to define the problem first, and secondly to identify possible solutions after defining it. Then you need to make a decision and move forward on that solution path. You must not go back over and over. What happens when the person does this? It's problem solving skills. It's something that can really be applied in any life event, trauma, shock experience, failing an exam. Instead of saying I'm ruined, I'm dead, I'm done. Pains, difficulties, troubles are all part of growing up. At the end of these, growth is already emerging. For him, the worst enemy here is to be pessimistic.”

“We need to focus on the future”

Stating that in cases such as trauma, one should not be pessimistic and that lessons should be learned, Prof. Dr. Nevzat Tarhan, “In such events, 'Why?' Instead of saying 'What should I do next? What should I do so that it doesn't happen again? How should I chart a path with survivors and loved ones?' You need to think and focus on them. The person has to take precautions against the bad scenario, write a good scenario, move in that direction and set a goal for himself. Otherwise, 60 minutes out of 50 minutes will be spent thinking about it. No nervous system and no soul can withstand this for long.” said.

“We will get through this difficult period too”

Noting that the post-earthquake period is definitely one of the most difficult periods of life, Tarhan said, “This is a difficult period of our lives. Just as there are autumn, winter, spring and summer in human life, there are such periods in human life. We will get through this difficult period somehow. How do we prepare for the winter and get through the winter comfortably. We will get through these periods as well, but preparation is needed. If you don't make preparations and take precautions when winter comes, you will have difficulties, just like that in life. There are difficult times in this life as well. We need to get through these periods somehow.” he said.

“Social support is very important during the recovery period”

Tarhan stated that if children's sense of hope and confidence is kept high, recovery will be easy, adding that adults also have a post-traumatic recovery period and social support is very important during this recovery period.