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Parents warned to spot flood trauma signs

By Frances Adcock, Wednesday March 13, 2013 - 12:15 EDT

Mental health specialists say parents should seek help if their children are showing signs of trauma after the recent Bundaberg floods.

Dr Vanessa Cobham, from the Australian Psychological Society, says young children are the most at risk after natural disasters.

She says parents should consult a GP if symptoms last longer than a few weeks.

"One thing that you might see in kids that you don't see in adults after something very bad happens is developmental regression, which means acting younger," Dr Cobham said.

"For example, if you have an eight year old who has been toilet trained for many years and after the floods they have begun wetting the bed. If it doesn't resolve within those few weeks then it is a good idea to go and see the GP."

Dr Cobham says trauma is normal after natural disasters and affected residents will usually recover without seeking specialist help.

However, she says it may take more time for some residents to get back on track.

"The majority of people will be fine and any distress they're experiencing now will resolve naturally over time," she said.

"Whether they be an SES [State Emergency Service] worker or someone whose business has been inundated or a child whose family home has been completely maxed - for most people these symptoms will reduce."


© ABC 2013

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