The real scary thing about the earthquake is the uncertainty.

The earthquake that occurred in İzmir, which caused the death of more than a hundred people and injured more than a thousand, once again revealed the deficiencies in this area. Stating that the uncertainties scare the people most about the earthquake, experts recommend making a plan about possible scenarios before the earthquake. Experts recommend that children be told that the earthquake is a natural disaster, without scaring them according to their age, accompanied by games and fairy tales. Üsküdar University NP Feneryolu Medical Center Clinical Psychologist Cemre Ece Gökpınar shared important information and advice about the emotions experienced by individuals during the earthquake, the reasons behind the actions that should not be done but taken.

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Uncertainty in an earthquake scares, preparation is comforting​

The most frightening person during an earthquake Clinical Psychologist Cemre Ece Gökpınar, who stated that one of the worrying and worrying emotions is the feeling of uncertainty, said, “Although the earthquake is a life-threatening element, it also carries with it many unknowns such as when it will happen, where it will be, how long it will last and how much its severity will be. For this reason, a life-threatening natural disaster is both uncertain and causes a situation that creates a shocking effect for people, from time to time not knowing what to do and preventing even the implementation of measures.

Panic makes people do risky actions

Stating that people’s desperation in natural disasters such as earthquakes is accompanied by a sense of not being able to control them, Gökpınar said, “These situations frighten people. At that moment, people may not be able to make sense of what is happening, what kind of power they are facing, that is, the situation they are experiencing. As a result, serious helplessness, inability to control, anxiety and fears are left alone. On the other hand, being able to create a life triangle and knowing where the earthquake bag is, if there is one, relaxes the individual a little. As experts, we recommend these, but the feeling of panic at that moment causes risky behaviors such as going out on the balcony at the moment of the earthquake, trying to go out in multi-storey buildings.

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  • If you’re not too close to the building exit, stay inside the building
  • ​Life Try to form a triangle. Apply the smash-trap-hold rule.
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  • Do not go out to the balcony, take the stairs, take the elevator
  • In the triangle of life you have created, not under a table, closet or bed stand next to you
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Brain responds “fight or flight”

Cemre Ece Gökpınar stated that a reaction occurs in the brain during stress and fear and said: “This is the fight or flight response. The brain sends a message to the person that he or she is afraid of a situation and to escape from it. At this point, the physiology of the person actually prepares itself for this situation. Effects such as increased heart rhythm and blood pressure may occur. At that moment, when the person cannot control and think clearly, he does what should not be done. He exhibits behaviors such as suddenly starting to run up the stairs during an earthquake, trying to get on the elevator, and jumping from the balcony. It is purely a mixture of caution and panic.”

Fear and anxiety are feelings that protect the individual

Clinical Psychologist Cemre Ece Gökpınar reminded that “fearing and worrying are extremely natural emotions” and continued her words as follows:

“Everyone worries and fears in an earthquake, this is very normal because it is really a life-threatening situation at that moment. Fear is felt with uncertainty. Therefore, we do not advise individuals who are afraid or worried about earthquakes not to be afraid or worried. In fact, fear and anxiety are feelings that protect the individual. When we are afraid or worried about something, we take precautions and be careful. They are mechanisms that protect the individual and not bad feelings. However, the situations where it cannot be controlled and the individual’s functionality is impaired are the situations where experts now intervene and try to teach control. A person’s brain can carry this fear with the same intensity for weeks or months after the earthquake. In such cases, the person cannot stay at home alone, sleep and eating disorders occur, and he cannot focus on his work. Post-traumatic stress reactions can continue. In such cases, expert intervention is required.”

Children should be told with fairy tales and games

Expressing that the earthquake should be told to children concretely, especially with games and fairy tales about this subject, Gökpınar said, “As adults, we know what an earthquake is in earthquake country. We know that we live, but despite all this and being adults, we are very afraid. If children do not know this, if they cannot make sense of what is happening, then it can be more shocking. Therefore, it should be explained to children in an age-appropriate way. Our suggestion to families is to explain that the earthquake is a natural disaster without scaring the children,” he said.

Some individuals feel guilty

Stating that individuals who experienced the earthquake develop many different emotions other than fear and anxiety, Gökpınar said, “Those who have lost their loved ones can enter the process of suicide, a feeling of anger. can develop. In some individuals, intense feelings of guilt such as ‘why did I survive, why did he die’ or such may arise. The person is always self-directed, inclined to seek responsibility and guilt. In fact, although it is a situation that we cannot intervene in any way, it is very normal and possible to enter a grieving process where one can blame others, get angry with others, question and deny. If there is a loss, the mourning process and situations that will develop psychologically for that person’s loss may occur.

The individual may not realize that he is under the wreckage

Pointing out that the wreckage is the place where the situations that create fear for the people who are under the wreckage are actually the most, Gökpınar said, “Because a person is a After being under the rubble, he may not have realized what happened at that moment and the moment of collapse. There may be a difficulty in understanding, a shock. Thoughts such as whether I can be saved are in a dark place, so there may be a serious situation of uncertainty as to what will happen as a result.”

Act as a family and with a concrete plan

Cemre Ece Gökpınar concluded her words as follows: “There is a big difference between taking precautions and panicking. We can recommend the following to the people affected by the earthquake; When they take precautions, if the building is not damaged and they are sure, they should have earthquake bags ready and act with a concrete plan about what to do with their family members. As much as possible, they can try to get themselves together by changing their focus of attention by getting an occupation that will do them good.”

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