Hurricanes Irma and Harvey leave many Katrina victims with anxiety

Hurricane Irma, Harvey leaving many with anxiety

NEW ORLEANS- First Hurricane Harvey, now Hurricane Irma. The images of this year's major hurricanes puts New Orleans resident Trent Rapps on edge.

"I do have family that's in Florida right now and they're preparing for it. And I have family that's in Houston that just went through the Hurricane down there," Rapps said.

So far he's keeping in touch, making sure they are okay.

"They've gone to the store to get things. They don't really have a way out as far as transportation. I'm worried about my family. I really am," Rapps said.

Hurricane Irma may be thousands of miles away from New Orleans, but that's not dimming Gray Frank Jr.'s anxiety.

"You dodged Harvey and this new thing that's coming up. New Orleans is right next door. It looks like walking-distance. All that storm has to do is just move over, you know," Frank Jr. said.

Dr. Amy Dickson, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at LSU's medical school, says these feelings are normal.

"With Harvey just happening and happening right around the anniversary of Katrina and our neighbors in Houston where so many people evacuated to, seeing the affects of the Hurricane there. Having another Hurricane right on its heels is making people anxious," Dr. Dickson said.

Post-Katrina, may people in New Orleans, Dr. Dickson says, suffered from trauma symptoms, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder.

According to the CDC, following Hurricane Katrina about a quarter of randomly selected households had someone who needed mental health counseling. Of those people, just fewer than 2 percent received help.

Dr. Dickson says while many people sought counseling right after the storm, others took a while before finally dealing with their grief.

"I had people come to me years after Katrina to say 'I think it's just hitting me now. How much I was impacted by it," Dr. Dickson said.

For those re-living the images and memories, they can only hope this active hurricane season slows down.

"Texas was our thing. Let's go to Houston. You can't go there. It's still underwater. So what are you going to do? There's a lot of people who just don't have anywhere to go and can't go. Would love to go, but they can't," Frank Jr. said.

If you still feel you may suffer from anxiety post-Katrina, call the LSU Health New Orleans Psychiatry hotline at 504-228-6196.
 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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