Medicine: Psychological First Aid

People in a disaster may escape bodily injury, but they often need psychological first aid. To help physicians and civil-defense workers give the right kind of such aid in emergencies from railroad wrecks to atom-bomb attacks, the American Psychiatric Association has put out a pamphlet of do's and don'ts.

Disaster reactions may range from short-lived disturbances, e.g., heavy sweating, trembling or nausea, to numbness and depression or overactivity, marked by joking, fast talk, an abundance of useless suggestions and activities. Occasionally, there may be physical reactions such as severe vomiting or hysterical paralysis, as well as blind panic, which is uncommon but...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!