Exploring How Hurricane Harvey Psychologically Affected Survivors

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How hurricanes affect us psychologically is not a commonly asked question in public but the effects show. Hurricane Harvey of 2017 affected survivors not only physically but mentally. Normally, we look towards problems that we can automatically see but studies show that mental effects of Hurricanes just might be worse. They can cost more, last a whole lot longer, and be even more damaging in the long run. Therefore here we are going to explore how hurricane Harvey affected people and this essay presents reasoned claims based on research, so it's not just personal opinions, it's proven information.

Hurricane Harvey Survivors

Hurricane exposure can have a profound impact on mental health, leading to increased symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder that are still present years after the storm. Those displaced following a hurricane are particularly vulnerable to adverse mental health outcomes, especially if displaced to temporary shelters. The current work highlights the experiences and mental health challenges of displaced populations following Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Harvey, as well as describing barriers to conducting research in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the need for more comprehensive interventions in these vulnerable populations.

A year after Hurricane Harvey thousands of people still deal with lingering mental health issues. Frequently reported symptoms including fear of water, rain, flooding, and anything associated with them, according to Dr. Charles Figley. Sufferers also experience disturbed sleep, fatigue, impatience, anger, anxiety, discouragement and lack of hope. For children, the story does not get much better.

“Studies have indicated that traumatic events during childhood can have a lasting life impact by increasing a child's future risk of smoking, using alcohol and substances, obesity, depression, heart disease, cancer, and even early death.”

'This will be especially relevant to children and youth who endured Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.” Frequently reported symptoms to include fear of water, rain, flooding, and anything associated with them, according to Figley. Sufferers also experience disturbed sleep, fatigue, impatience, anger, anxiety, discouragement and lack of hope. More than a third of Houston’s population was displaced after Harvey soaked the area with record rainfall in August 2017. The National Hurricane Center released a report stating that Harvey, which made landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm, was “the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in U.S. history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts, since reliable rainfall records began around the 1880s.”

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In Hurricane Harvey, there was a rise to in something that was not as common in Hurricane Katrina studies. “Crime rates can increase and substance use rates typically increase,” said Dr. Leslie Taylor, assistant professor at UT Health’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “People are just not in the same place that they [once were].” They did, a sudden rise in Houston's murder rate could be tied to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Texan city's mayor has said.

The city recorded 269 murders in 2017, down about 11 percent, compared to the last two years. However, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm that tore through Texas starting August 25, Houston saw a rise of nearly 15 percent in homicides.

Houston had experienced a sharp drop in murders in the month of August before the numbers started spiking again in the wake of the hurricane. 'From September through December 2017, there were 104 murders in the city compared to 91 during the same period in 2016, representing a nearly 15 percent increase', Mayor Sylvester Turner said, according to Houston Public Media, a service of the University of Houston. Turner suggested the rise could be linked to PTSD from the devastation and destruction wrought by Harvey in August.

Mary Ann Constantinou is someone who was born in New Orleans, she prepped her house long before Hurricane Harvey swamped her neighborhood. When water seeped through the floorboards, she located a rescue boat and got her husband, teenaged son, an elderly neighbor and basset hound to safety. Harvey may have faced her with challenges, but she weathered them all. So why, weeks later, can't she recognize acquaintances or recall the day of the week?

“All over Houston, people are complaining of an odd forgetfulness. Highways may be clear, deadlines met and the city mostly back to business. But storm survivors and even residents all but untouched by the downpour now find themselves muddling dates, weeping at small frustrations or vexed by insomnia'.

'It's called Acute Stress Disorder, and it occurs two to four weeks after exposure to a trauma', explains Rosalie Hyde, a social worker who works closely with trauma victims, including Harvey survivors. Most people are familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, in which serious symptoms linger after eight weeks and often don't go away. But in the immediate aftermath of stressful events such as Harvey and other global disasters this year, many others will feel some form of time distortion or emotional and physical unease. 'In the case of Harvey we were so connected with each other through the flooding and social media that the traumatic event was shared,” - Claudia Kolker, via Houston Public Media

So I guess this raises the question like are hurricanes more devastating physically or mentally? In the end, it’s impossible to tell which is worse they have to different effects in different ways. For example, there is no way we can tell right now if Hurricane Harvey’s effects or even close to being over. Now whether or not your personal opinion agrees with me it is your choice but in my mind, it is worse mentally. My reasoning is that you can buy a new apartment with enough money with the right insurance you can fix a whole company building but you can’t just buy and replace a new mind as easily. The mental effects never quite leave you can fix the physical stuff like buildings and roads and homes but once it’s in your head it is almost impossible to get out again. Example Hurricane Katrina cost about 150 million dollars in all but we could still be paying for a person who is now having mental difficulties now.


Most people when they think of a hurricane they think physical destructions but studies show that the psychological devastation of hurricanes is just as bad as physical. They could even be worse. They affect us longer and more severe and are very difficult to fix. In the end, it would be very hard to figure which one would be worse if a hurricane hit a city with a whole different mindset it could be something completely different from other people so in the end, it is almost impossible to decide which part of a hurricane is the worst. 

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Exploring How Hurricane Harvey Psychologically Affected Survivors. (2023, May 16). WritingBros. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploring-how-hurricane-harvey-psychologically-affected-survivors/
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Exploring How Hurricane Harvey Psychologically Affected Survivors. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploring-how-hurricane-harvey-psychologically-affected-survivors/> [Accessed 28 Sept. 2023].
Exploring How Hurricane Harvey Psychologically Affected Survivors [Internet]. WritingBros. 2023 May 16 [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/exploring-how-hurricane-harvey-psychologically-affected-survivors/
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