WMU News

Tragedy puts mental, stress on people and relationships

Sept. 24, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- While the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks affect some families more directly than others, all Americans must find ways to deal with the stress and anxiety triggered by the tragedies.

Dr. Karen R. Blaisure, a WMU associate professor of family and consumer sciences with expertise in family therapy, says everyone, in some way, has been traumatized.

"For some, the symptoms are manifested through anxiety, impatience, irritability and in some cases, physically. People are not sleeping well, others are having nightmares, and this is just from the experience they've had through TV," says Blaisure.

As American households struggle to deal with the aftermath, families should work hard not to get diverted from normal life, says Blaisure.

"Maintaining your routine is important, and especially important for children. Eat well. If you work out, go work out. Make phone calls to loved ones. It may feel a little disloyal not to be glued to the TV right now, but why not play a board game or take a weekend camping trip? We have to do what we know we can do to feel better," she says.

Because the devastation has assaulted our collective sense of control, it is important that we remind ourselves the things we can control.

"A good thing that's come of this is that we're all talking about -- sharing perspectives, swapping information, expressing hopes and fears -- and that's part of taking care of ourselves."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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